Retired Assistant Police Commissioner, Steve Merai has been implicated in the gunning down of political activist Ronald Waddell by self-confessed death squad member, Shawn Hinds. Merai rubbished the accusation and said he would be contacting top police officers.
“Two policemen were in the vehicle when Waddell died. A man named Patrick Denny and a man named Steve Merai,” Hinds told the Wednesday, July 22, 2015 edition of HGPTV Nightly News.
Waddell was shot several times on January 30, 2006 outside his Subryanville home and was pronounced dead on arrival at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation.
Speaking with Demerara Waves Online News, Merai bluntly denied Hinds’ claim and said he would prefer to first speak with Police Commissioner Seelall Persaud and Head of the Criminal Investigations Department Senior Superintendent Wendell Blanhum before commenting more to the media on the matter. “This is terrible, this is shocking what he is saying,” Merai said, adding that he was never part of that activity and that he was ready to face his accuser. “I am going and call them (Commissioner and Crime Chief) because I would like to face him in a confrontation or something,” he said.
Hinds said he was hired to kill Waddell but while he was in a car near the Subryanville Seawall awaiting Waddell’s emergence, a car with two men appeared and shot the journalist and talk-show host who had been highly critical of the government.
“When I was on the seawall looking out for the man…I got a call ‘man coming’ (and) by the time the man was coming out the yard, the man ain’t come from the road, the man went in his house, a car swing Sheriff Street- a blue 212- swing from Sheriff Street and all I hear was dudutduh,”
Hinds said he has video and other incriminating evidence to prove his claim.
Hinds has previously admitted to being a member of a death squad that had been responsible for hunting down heavily armed and dangerous criminals following the February 2002 jail break.
The Crime Chief told Demerara Waves earlier Wednesday that Hinds was wanted for questioning about a “serious crime” but it was not about the shooting death of political activist Courtney Crum-Ewing in March, 2015 at Diamond, East Bank Demerara.
Hinds, who up to recently provided security services for now fired Town Clerk Carol Sooba and senior members of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP)-Civic while it was in government, appears to have been ostracised by those for whom he once worked. The PPP issued a statement denying its involvement in Crum-Ewing’s murder and suggested that Hinds was now part of a plot by the coalition-led government. “The PPP/C exposes this entire effort as a plot by the APNU/AFC Government. It is apposite to note that at no time did Shawn Hinds mention Ministerial involvement.”
“The plot involving Shawn Hinds incriminating PPP/C Ministers and Members must be exposed for what it is, designed by the Granger-Government to tarnish the image of the PPP with accusations of murder and directing the investigations to prove PPP/C involvement,” added the PPP.
According to then United States Ambassador to Guyana, Roland Bullen, in cable leaked by Wikileaks, Waddell’s killing appeared to have been gang-related, the result of a drugs or criminal deal gone sour. Waddell had praised the Buxton Resistance in reference to heavily armed Afro-Guyanese men who had ensconced themselves in the East Coast Demerara village of Buxton since the February 2002 escape of five men from the Georgetown Prison.