The final investigations into the claims made by residents in the Brother’s Village, Berbice area, that the two men who were arrested in connection with the rape and murder of 13-year-old Leonardo Archibald were known pedophiles and police neglected reports, has revealed no proof to substantiate the accusations.
This is according to acting Top Cop, David Ramnarine on Wednesday during a press conference with media operatives at the Ministry of Public Security.
“You will recall the school-boy murder in New Amsterdam…you will recall there was a public outcry [where] relatives and residents felt that we had been unprofessional is reports made against one of the suspects. You will recall that I had sent out a press release where we sent a senior officer in that area and to the credit of the police, we have not found evidence that we would call gross unprofessional conduct of the police in not responding to any reports made,” Ramnarine explained.
He noted that according to the senior officer who had been sent to the location to investigate the matter –identified as Assistant Superintendent Oswald Pitt- no relative or resident in the village made any efforts to reach out to him.
“It is unfortunate that, according to the officer, no relative or resident of the community called him on his cellphone, he didn’t see any private call, any number when he spent five days in the district to give him information to substantiate what they had said to the press,” he posited.
Nevertheless, the final report is expected to be submitted to the Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan soon.
INews had reported that the teenager, Leonard Archibald of Friend’s Village, Berbice went missing on September 10, 2017, after riding ahead of his three sisters he was accompanying home from a birthday party in the neighbouring village.
It is alleged that one of the two suspects- Hillary Edwards, 29, and Omardai Christopher (Nicholas),19,- who is a relative of the now dead teenager, lured him into his yard to run an errand, promising the young lad payment.
However, the child was instead captured and reportedly raped by the two men.
Reports further indicated that after Archibald lost consciousness, he was bound and thrown into the Berbice River along with his bicycle.
The two suspects reportedly confessed to Police shortly after being taken into custody and related the horrific story.
The bicycle was discovered in the Berbice River behind the suspects’ house about 40 feet from the high tide mark.
Subsequently, the deteriorated body was discovered by a search party, some three miles from the child’s home.
Archibald was recently laid to rest, while those accused of his rape and murder were on remanded to prison until December 8.
Since then, relatives and residents of the village had lambasted the police, indicating to media operatives that several reports had been made against the suspects on numerous occasions, but no action was ever taken.
Child Care and Protection Agency (CCPA) Director Ann Greene had spoken out against gruesome attacks on minors, noting that it was a wake up call for communities.
This is as the Agency is of the belief that persistent intervention by residents in the area could have prevented the fatal outcome.
Adding to her calls for intervention at the community level, the CCPA Director also urged families to be more vigilant as it regards the welfare of their children. In fact, she noted that they must not only go into protective mode for the females, but attention must be paid to the males as well.