“Barbaric, riotous” activities will no longer be tolerated – AG on recent WCB protest

A section of the road blocked off during protest actions in West Coast Berbice

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall has sent a strong warning to residents of West Coast Berbice (WCB) that the full force of the law will apply against those who are bent on preventing persons from going about their usual business and damaging public property.

Nandlall’s warning came in response to the actions of residents of Number Five Village, (WCB), who, over the past weekend, resorted to once again blocking the main access road by burning tyres in their call for a speedy conclusion of the investigations into the gruesome murders of 16-year-old Isaiah Henry and 19-year-old Joel Henry.

Nandlall affirmed that the actions of the residents were uncalled for since the investigations into the murders are ongoing. To this end, he warned that such behaviour will not be tolerated and the authorities will use the full force of the law to ensure that persons are held accountable.

“Every possible offense known to the law will apply…because this society will not continue to tolerate such barbaric, riotous and terroristic kind of activities,” the Attorney General warned during a programme he hosted on his Facebook page.

“Persons who believe that every grievance that they have, they can go and ventilate it on the roadway and damage public property…and beat innocent people…well, if they don’t hear they will feel,” Nandlall said.

Attorney General Anil Nandlall

The blocking of the roadway last Sunday, left hundreds stranded since vehicular traffic was brought to a halt. Several vehicles were also damaged after they were pelted with stones by the protesters. Some persons were forced to disembark public transportation and take a different route to pass the area where the protest was ongoing.

This was a resemblance to the one-week-long protest actions by the villagers following the discovery of the bodies of the two teenagers. Back then, several vehicles were set on fire while civilians were beaten and robbed by the mob.

The protest had also spread to the East Coast of Demerara and New Amsterdam and the Corentyne in Region Six and a few other parts of the country as persons called for justice for the Henry teens.

On September 6, 2020, the bodies of Isaiah and Joel Henry were found in the backlands at West Coast Berbice. They had left their Number Three Village home to pick coconuts but did not return home.

Their butchered bodies were found in clumps of bushes partially covered in mud after relatives went in search of them. And then, on September 9, 2020, 17-year-old Haresh Singh was found murdered at the Number Three Village backlands.

It is suspected that his death was in retaliation for the murders of Isaiah and Joel, since he is related to one of the persons initially held by the Police.

A team from the Regional Security System (RSS) is currently in Guyana to assist the Guyana Police Force (GPF) in its investigations into the murders of the Henry cousins as well as Singh.

Amidst the violent unrest which gripped the Berbice community following the deaths of the teens, President Dr Irfaan Ali had announced that the Government would be engaging the British Government and the RSS to lend support to the investigative capacity of the Guyana Police Force.

He had also said that he was exploring an International Commission of Inquiry to address all aspects of what occurred following the killings.

Recently, the GPF announced that efforts are underway to get international forensic help from Argentina to assist in the investigation.