Harmon, Lawrence at one on justice for Henry cousins but seemingly differ on approach

Last Updated on Sunday, 13 September 2020, 12:26 by Denis Chabrol

Chairman of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) Volda Lawrence and Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon on Sunday issued separate calls for justice for the teenage Henry cousins whose chopped bodies were found aback West Coast Berbice one week ago.

But the two PNCR Executive members appeared to differ on the approach, with Ms. Lawrence continuing to strike a more conciliatory tone along with a rethink of strategies and Mr. Harmon suggesting that the way ahead might not altogether be smooth.

“And if some of us have to be inconvenienced for justice to be served then so it will have to be my brothers and sisters, so it will have to be. We demand justice for Isaiah and Joel so that every young child in this nation will know that every single one of their lives matter,” said Mr. Harmon at the funeral parlour in Georgetown.

Ms. Lawrence, describing herself as someone who has always been on the frontline, said at least 500 people have been killed over the past two decades but stopped short of saying that protests and marches have yielded no success in finding a long term solution based on equity.

“The course, which we trekked previously, did not bring us justice, my brothers and sisters  and so  it is time for us to do some introspection. It is time for us  to review those old actions and find that path…a path not for self, a path for all Guyanese  when we will feel secure in our land, when we, as women, when our boys go out and our girls go out , we must not be fearful because we must believe that the system will work equally for each and everyone of them,” she told a a farewell service at Parade Ground in honour of Joel and Isaiah Henry.

The PNCR Chairman was  the first to have last week unambiguously called for an end to road blockages and other disruptions on the Upper East Coast Demerara and West Coast Berbice public road.

She stressed the importance of getting justice immediately with solid evidence that would lead to convictions and for an end to such killings with the slaying of the Henry cousins. “We  must not allow ourselves to be distracted so that we can be given excuses. We must keep the fire under the powers that be to do all that they can to ensure that the murderers who live in our communities must be brought to justice. We want to ensure that the right persons are brought to justice. We want to ensure that the case is sound and solid against those murderers,” said Ms. Lawrence.

In a similar vein, Opposition Leader Harmon said earlier Sunday morning that every effort must be made to ensure that police conduct a fair and thorough probe that favours no one as part of an unrelenting campaign to bring the perpetrators to  justice for the Henrys. “This is not about recrimination. It is about justice. We must not tolerate sloppy police work. We must not tolerate partisan policemen protecting the perpetrators, we must not tolerate suspects being sheltered and sent on their way,” said Mr. Harmon.

President Irfaan Ali last week announced that the United Kingdom and the Caribbean Regional Security System would be asked to assist local investigators in probing the crime.

The Henry cousins had left their home during the predawn hours of last week Saturday to pick coconuts to sell but when they had not returned home, a search party found their dead, mutilated bodies on a coconut estate in the backlands of Cotton Tree village, West Coast Berbice.

The Guyana Police Force has gone virtually silent on the status of the investigations for the past four days. Seven persons had been arrested and four subsequently released on station bail. The police force has said little about the progress of their investigations.