Ex-Police ID gang members – Bartica Massacre trial
…recalls seeing accused on night of attack
As the Bartica Massacre trial at the High Court continues, former Policeman Carl Methuram testified that he identified two of the co-accused who carried out the gruesome and brutal February 17, 2008 attack in which twelve persons were killed, including three Policemen.
Taking the stand on Wednesday afternoon, the witness pointed out that on June 18, 2008, he went to an identification (ID) parade at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Headquarters where he picked out the fifth person in the line-up. At Wednesday’s court session, this individual was pointed out as Mark ‘Royden’ Williams.
Methuram further told the court that on November 9, 2008, he attended a second ID parade where he picked out the “number 7 individual”, who was identified as Dennis Williams. The witness noted that it was Inspector Lord who conducted these parades and he further testified that he had not known the senior rank before then.
Recounting the events of the February 2008 attack, the former Policeman told the jury that on that fateful night, he had seen the two Williams in addition to several other gang members. Methuram said that at the time, he was visiting relatives and had subsequently received a call from the Officer in Charge at the Bartica Police Station. On his way there, he heard “rapid gunfire” and he stopped some 250 meters away and hid.
He further told the court that he saw a man in front of the station who was dark in complexion, muscular and appeared to have about 200 pounds. This man was said to have “low cut hair” on his head with no facial hair, and was armed with an AK-47.
The ex-Policeman also told the court that he saw two other men at the entrance to the station and one of these men, who was armed with an AK-47, was said to be five feet, eight inches; Amerindian looking; slim with a long face and had worn a toque with “rasta dread” at the side. Methuram further claimed that on the northern side of the Bartica Station, he saw someone else walking east to west who was also armed.
The court then heard that the former Policeman waited 15-25 minutes before he proceeded in the direction of the station. Around this time, he assisted several persons to take taxis to go to the hospital.
According to Methuram, when he finally arrived at the Police Station, he shouted: “Police! Police!” but no one answered. He recalled that the Enquiries Department was “messed up”, with everything ransacked.
He also told the court that he saw a bulletproof vest on the eastern door and he picked it up. The witness stated that he also noticed that the lock to the “strong box” was lashed off and there was no firearm inside. However, there was a shotgun in the box on the ground outside.
From this box, he also retrieved 12 cartridges and left the station. Outside, he noticed several other injured persons.
Under cross-examination by Mark Williams’ defence counsel, Roger Yearwood, Methuram denied that he was ever dismissed for being part of a “Phantom Squad”. The witness revealed that he left the Guyana Police Force (GPF) less than a year after the Bartica incident, but stressed that he was not indicted from duties at the time of his resignation.
As Yearwood continued his cross-examination, the witness could not recall when he gave statements to Police regarding the incident. Meanwhile, the Attorney suggested to Methuram that on the ID parade, he was told to point out Mark Williams.
“That is not true,” the former Policeman told the court.
Meanwhile, 23-year-old former gang member Dwane Williams, called “Small Friend”, concluded being cross-examined during the morning session of the trial. It was suggested that young Williams was “instructed” by Police rank “Reid” to give evidence against the co-accused which he denied.
The young ex-gang member told the court that the first time he ever saw co-accused Roger Simon was when he had given evidence in a Preliminary Inquiry in the lower court. Dwane Williams added that Roger Simon was not among the group that went to Bartica and carried out the attack.
On that fateful night, gunmen stormed Bartica and attacked the police station and several other areas in the community. Twelve persons were killed, including three Policemen. The trial continues at the High Court today. (Guyana Times)