Jagdeo welcomes impartial COI into 2002-2009 crime spree

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Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo is not only open to a Commission of Inquiry (COI) into the crime spree that occurred under his presidency, he is in fact urging that the government launch the inquiry and uncover the political authors responsible.

Opposition Leader, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo

During a press conference on Saturday, Jagdeo called out the government on the question of the COI.

However, he noted that if this COI is to be launched, it must be with impartial and reputable adjudicators.

Jagdeo also questioned the President’s delay in launching the COI, considering the fact that a number of other COI’s were ordered.

Moreover, he noted that members of his former administration are willing to provide assistance to the inquiry.

On Friday, Minister of State Joseph Harmon hinted at Government’s intention to establish a COI to probe the circumstances of the spate of murders, which were witnessed between the period 2002-2009.

Harmon had posited that the Coroner’s Inquest Act requires an inquest be held for any unnatural death.

The Minister said those Guyanese who have lost their families during the Lusignan and Bartica massacres and other mysterious killings deserve closure.

The victims of the 2008 Lusignan Massacre

The 11 victims of the Lusignan massacre which occurred 10 years ago were yesterday remembered at an inter-faith service coordinated by the Indian Action Committee (IAC).

In the feature address, Former Chairman of the Ethnic Relations Commission, Bishop Juan Edghill, spoke on the strength of the Lusignan community, considering the irreconcilable damage that has been done to the community.

Edghill also said that he welcomes the COI, “the country needs to know what happened here. This country needs to know who are the intellectual authors of what transpired here. I look forward to an independent inquiry that is not directed by political influences,” he added.

Social Cohesion Minister Dr George Norton who also spoke at the event said that even though the heinous and cowardly act happened a decade ago, the terrible loss of life is still difficult to fathom. He said, however, that he admires the strength of the victims’ relatives, who are coping with an indelible loss.

On January 26, 2008, gunmen stormed into Grass Field, Lusignan, opening gunfire on sleeping residents. At the end of the 15-minute ordeal, Shazam Mohamed, Clarence Thomas, his son, Ron 11, and daughter, Vanessa 12; Mohandai Gourdat, 32, and her two children; Seegobin, four years old, and Seegopaul Harilall, 10; Shalem Baksh, 52; Rooplall Seecharan, 56, his daughter Raywattie Ramsingh, 11, and his wife, Dhanrajie, called ‘Sister’, 52 were all dead.

Those injured in the ordeal were Howard Thomas 19; Nadir Mohamed, 48, and five-year-old Roberto Thomas.

The motive of the vicious attack is still unclear; however, the actions were claimed by the notorious killer Rondell ‘Fine Man’ Rawlins, who is now dead.

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