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None of the 420 killings is a cold case -Guyana Police Force

The Guyana Police Force says none of the more than 420 killings between 2002 and 2006 has been declared a cold case.

“Investigations into the deaths of those persons during that period of our history have never been closed and (the Guyana Police Force) is consequently urging anyone who may be in possession of any information into the incidents to come forward and inform the Police,” the law enforcement agency said in a statement.

Reacting to an article earlier this month by the privately-owned Stabroek News, the police force urged “anyone with information on those incidents to come forward” and inform investigators.

The Police Force says such information or tips could be submitted anonymously. “Such information/tips need not be submitted directly in person but can be done and will be accepted through any of the traditional means of communication or via Social Media,” the police force said.

The David Granger-led administration has conducted only one Commission of Inquiry into one such incident – the killing of several miners at Lindo Creek in 2008.

The Inquiry had recommended compensation, but so far government has not paid out any money.

Meanwhile, Executive Member of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), Aubrey Norton is defending the failure by the State under the administration of A Partnership for National Unity+ Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) to bring the killers of more than 400 persons to justice.

Mr. Norton says people fear giving evidence against death squad members. “You are not going to get people that easily to go and give evidence out of fear. Don’t forget that a lot of people are afraid. You have to do thorough investigations and, hopefully, with improved investigative capacity etc. we would be able to deal with those matters and many of them who still exist,” said Norton.

He says the David Granger-led administration is focusing on training police to conduct better investigations develop a new culture of integrity.

Arguing that the previous government had removed the investigative capacity of the police force, Mr. Norton cited the extradition of Marcus Bisram from the United States for the alleged murder of a carpenter in Berbice.

The crime spree, which had included the Bartica and Lusignan massacres, several kidnaps, rapes, killings, and disappearances, had begun in February 2002 when five inmates had escaped from the Georgetown Prison and almost immediately had sought refuge in Buxton Village on the East Coast Demerara. That village had been used as a staging post to commit the heinous crimes.

Rondell ‘Fineman’ Rawlins, who had been fingered in the killing of then Agriculture Minister Satyadeo Sawh, was shot dead in August 2008, seemingly marking the end of one of Guyana’s most violent periods in its post-colonial history. Also killed during that period was Afro-Guyanese activist, Ronald Waddell, who had also been an outspoken opponent against the majority East Indo-Guyanese supported People’s Progressive Party (PPP).