Eyewitness: Fanning the flames…

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…in West Berbice

Let your Eyewitness make this very clear: the murder and mutilation of those two Henry boys – Isaiah and Joel – behind Cotton Tree is an act so gruesome and evil, it had to have been committed by some very, very sick people. From the facts we have at the moment, all the kids were doing were “picking” some coconuts – as boys in every rural community have done at one time or another from time immemorial, on someone else’s property. In this case, we’re told these were “dry coconuts” to be sold …probably at the Saturday market. But what kind of people would kill these two kids for some COCONUTS??

Or even if there’d been some kind of confrontation with others in the “Backdam”, why the mutilation?? Without resorting to armchair pop psychology, the way the murders were committed signals a hell of a lot of anger. Whatever the circumstances, it did not call for this act of finality –  to snuff out the lives of these youths before they even had the opportunity to fulfil the potential that God had granted them. We aspire to live in a civilised society, but this act of murder takes us back to the savage life of the jungle. It should make us question as to whether we’ll ever be able to get out from that darkness and backwardness.

President Irfaan Ali immediately issued a strong statement unequivocally condemning the heinous act as “brutal and senseless” and offered condolences to the relatives and assured them that the Police would act expeditiously to apprehend the perpetrators. Leader of the Opposition, Joseph  Harmon also expressed similar sentiments save he ominously called upon the villagers to remain “vigilant”. Your Eyewitness wondered whether he was privy to any information that suggested the community was under a wider, ongoing threat. By this time, the irate villagers had blocked the Public Road and set fire to tyres and other objects that blocked all traffic to and from West Berbice.

The very next day (Monday) the Police announced they’d arrested the owner of the coconut estate from where the boys were gathering coconuts, his son, and a handyman. This was very quick work on the part of the Police who were also very understanding of the context  not to intervene to remove the roadblocks. But PNC Leader Granger and Opp Leader Harmon, visiting the bereaved families, behaved very inappropriately, in the estimation of your Eyewitness.

In a nutshell…they played politics with the grief of the family. Based on our immediate history that made the atmosphere very combustible.

This was neither the time nor the place for fanning the flames of hatred.

 …and poking maribunta’s nests

Granger pretty much held a political meeting with the large crowd  that had raucously followed him and gathered at the home of one of the deceased youths. He urged them to form “Self Defence” groups to protect their children – insisting that “the (PPP) government” wasn’t doing so. He gratuitously referred to “children in school buses” – which allusion none of his listeners could miss since the stoning of the “Granger school bus” during anti-rigging  protests was near these same communities and several schoolchildren had been injured.

He studiously avoided mentioning, however, that in the same adjoining village of Cotton Tree, in the aftermath of the same protests, another youth, Sewdat “Devon” Hansraj, 18, had been shot dead by Police when he had been President. By his logic, wasn’t it his government that was responsible for security then and had failed to protect Devon?? The parents of Devon had called for justice – just as the parents of the Henry cousins are doing now.

Harmon, speaking after Granger, gratuitously brought race into the equation when he referred to the “two black boys”.

Guyana doesn’t need this.

…and undermining the Police

Even though the Police had already made arrests, Harmon hit a new low – to undermine their professionalism by alleging that “organised thugs” had been brought into the GPF.

Ow, man!