Last Updated on Friday, 6 November 2020, 20:21 by Denis Chabrol
The Guyana government appeared unwilling fund a Argentines and Spain forensic experts to visit Guyana to investigate the killing and mutilation of the teenage Henry cousins, saying that could set the stage for similar demands in the future.
“If we set precedent of this nature, then every person, we brought in a Caricom team, then every person will bring in their own person but we don’t have an objection because there is nothing to hide,” Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo told a news conference on Friday.
He suggested that Attorney-at-Law Nigel Hughes and the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) could seek similar assistance from the United States (US) or Brazil. Mr. Jagdeo hinted that Guyana would be unable to pay the US$40,000 fee, including payment for the work, airfares from Argentina and Spain, meals and accommodation and cargo. “We don’t have any objections to the Argentines looking at it but I don’t know about the funding,” Mr. Jagdeo said.
Speaking personally, rather than on behalf of the Guyana government on that point, Mr. Jagdeo said he was unsure that the Argentine Team of Forensic Anthropology (Equipo Argentino de Antropologia Forensica-EAAF) “would make a difference” but suggested that government would not block the experts from coming under the auspices of Mr. Hughes and the GHRA. “If Mr. Hughes and the GHRA- Guyana Human Rights Association – , they want to bring the Argentines to review and to see if they can help us catch these criminals, I don’t see why we shouldn’t allow them to bring them. We want to catch all of these criminals and ensure they get locked away for a very, very long time,” he said.
President Irfaan Ali had said that his PPP government would spare no effort to bring the perpetrators to justice and international experts will be engaged if required.
The Caribbean Community’s Regional Security System (RSS) five-member team concluded that the the Guyana Police Force had done sufficient work and was capable of solving the killings of Joel and Isaiah Henry as well as Haresh Singh.
The Guyana Police Force has not responded to concerns by Mr, Hughes that the trousers, in which Joel Henry’s body was found was not subjected to DNA tests to trace the possible suspects. The lawyer said tests were conducted on a cigarette butt and blood samples that had been taken.
The mutilated bodies of the Henry cousins were found on September 6, 2020 on a coconut estate in the backlands of Cotton Tree, West Coast Berbice one day after they had left to collect coconuts to sell. Police later said it was evident that the boys were killed somewhere else and their bodies taken to where they were found. Haresh Singh was killed three days later and his body found next to his burnt motorcycle at Number Three Village where he had been riding to his farm.
The murders sparked fiery protest on the West Coast Berbice corridors which quickly spread to other parts of the country.