EYEWITNESS: The long arm… of the law

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While your Eyewitness has been critical of the Police for their casual, petty shakedown of motorists and other misdemeanors against the citizenry, he’s always maintained that much of their challenges are political in nature. And in this respect, they merely reflect what’s immanent in every institution of our dear, old mudland. One of Granger’s first acts, upon assuming office, was to sweep out the entire top brass of the Force and replace them with presumed loyalists.

So, with the PPPC back in the saddle, and rectifying the injustices by bringing back most of the old officers who’d proven their mettle, your Eyewitness was sure the Force would solve the mystery of who’d butchered those poor young men of W/Berbice. In the matter of solving local crimes, it invariably comes down to intelligence (snitching?) on what went down in the community. After all, when was it that a local crime was solved using “forensics”?? That’s just something we see on CSI and other crime shows!

Guyana’s a small place; folks talk eventually, because “mattie tell mattie and friend tell friend”. The Police eventually get wind, especially after the Crime Chief of the said Police Force insisted they keep their ears on the ground. So, your Eyewitness was greatly relieved – but not surprised – when this newspaper scooped the news that three persons had been arrested for the Henrys’ murders, and confession had been obtained from them.

Unlike the usual “confessions” that were literally beaten out of suspects, this time, the Police videoed the “spilling of the guts” on this most gruesome crime, and showed it to reporters. And, as had been surmised by many – excluding Granger, of course, who insisted it was “political” – the murders were linked to marijuana that’s widely grown in the backlands of remote rural communities. The confessor was 19-year-old Akash “Monkey” Singh, who fingered two other accomplices, his cousin Anil Sancharra (33) and Vinod “Maaga” Gopaul (34).

Maaga is a hardened criminal who’d shot and killed his father at 14, engaged subsequently in numerous crimes in the Berbice area, and escaped from jail on two occasions. Seems he and the others had established a ganja farm in the backlands of W/Berbice, but this had been destroyed and the Henry cousins had been fingered, and then murdered.

Young Akash insisted he’d been forced to participate in the hacking, and it was he who carved the “X” on each of the heads. His story was corroborated by the fact that he was able to lead investigators to the original crime scene, which all investigators surmised but couldn’t locate.

The DPP has recommended murder charges be laid, and the killers must get the death penalty. And preferably hanged until they’re dead.

…needs direction

In the wake of the solid investigation – to which the DPP immediately gave her imprimatur by requesting charges be filed – several questions were raised in your Eyewitness’s head. For example, “How come Maaga (as in “scrawny”) was allowed to roam free after all his criminal activities? After the patricide in 2004, he was charged for murder, but escaped, in 2007 and then again in 2011, from the New Amsterdam Prison and fled to Suriname.

He returned in 2014, and had been positively identified in a spate of robberies in Numbers 48-49 Villages on the Corentyne. Villagers had staged a protest, insisting that the Police were in cahoots with him. He was apprehended only when villagers in Black Bush Polder raised an alarm after he went to a wake with an assault weapon. It’s not known how he was freed, but he was sentenced in absentia in 2019, and then arrested in a cordon-and-search operation. But we know he was out and about for him to be planting ganja, and then allegedly murdering the Henry boys.

What gives?

…tying up loose ends

There must be a speedy trial, to remove all doubts as to whether Akash’s account of the murders is true. This should bring closure to the bereaved families.

The Police must now solve Haresh Singh’s murder.