Lindo Creek CoI: Slain prison escapee Varswyck was part of team hunting ‘Fine Man’ says Hughes

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As the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the 2008 Lindo Creek Massacre continued today (Wednesday) attorney-at-law Nigel Hughes, who was retained by Leonard Arokium to aid in the investigation of the murders, took the stand and related, among other things, that he was provided with information on the identity of some of the members that were part of the police team that went into the Lindo Creek.

Attorney-at-law Nigel Hughes appearing before the CoI

Hughes posited that ex-policeman Urie Varswyck, who had escaped from the Georgetown Prison and was slain in 2017, was part of a Joint services team that went into Lindo Creek when the police force had been in search of the ‘Fine Man’ gang.

“I do have information that I received in a professional capacity, that I cannot disclose, that actually indicated the identify of some of the members of the team, one of them is now deceased, Mr Varswyck was part of the police force” Hughes said.

He added that Varswyck was under the command of a serving member of the Guyana Police Force. When asked by the Commission’s chairman Justice Donald Trotman to reveal the name of that serving officer, Hughes declined citing fear of the officer’s life.

During the last CoI hearing retired Assistant Commissioner Heeralall Mackanlall, whose was at the time of the tragedy the Deputy Head of the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), said that he investigated the massacre upon request from late former Police Commissioner Henry Greene and was unable to find evidence implicating joint services in the killings.

At the same time, it was determined that a police, army and Special Forces team were in the general Lindo Creek area.

Meanwhile, Hughes also said that after he was retained by Leonard Arokium he wrote to then Commissioner Greene indicating that they retain the services of United Kingdom’s Forensic Science Service to aid the police in their investigation of the incident. Then Chief of Staff, Rear Admiral Gary Best, was also copied in the correspondence.

However, the CoI heard that, Greene acknowledged receipt of the letter but never took up the offer. Instead they relied on the United States for help which never materialized and then settled for assistance from Jamaica and Trinidad to identify the remains.

Hughes also recounted that in August of 2008 they received information that the cellular phone of victim, Dax Arokium was still being used. He said they then got a print out of the calls made using the number and furnished it to the police.

Sometime between June 12, 2008 and June 24, 2008, miners Cecil Arokium, Dax Arokium, Compton Speirs, Horace Drakes, Clifton Wong, Lancelot Lee, Bonny Harry and Nigel Torres were shot and killed, and their bodies burnt at the Upper Berbice River mining camp.

The Lindo Creek CoI is the first of what the coalition Government has said would be a series of inquiries into the hundreds of killings, which occurred during a crime wave that began in 2002.

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