Probe into Berbice Killings: President hints at RSS team arriving shortly; MoU already signed

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Murdered: Joel Henry, Isaiah Henry, Haresh Singh

President Irfaan Ali has reported that “great progress” has been made in relation to assembling the necessary human resources to ensure an impartial investigation is carried out into the murders of the three Berbice teens – Isiah and Joel Henry and Haresh Singh.

President Ali, during recent interview with Caribbean Times News in Miami noted that very early in the initial stages of the investigation, the Government began moves to have the Regional Security System (RSS) activated and also to seek the involvement of the British Government to probe the killings and the subsequent events in Berbice.

“I am happy to report to you that we are making great progress, from CARICOM itself we are hoping that we can have a team very shortly, we have finalised the Terms of Reference, we had to sign a MOU…and also on the British side, we have gotten a very positive response,” the President disclosed.

The President asserted that the Government has moved forward and is working feverishly to ensure that justice is served in all of the murders.

“We are going after these criminals, we are ensuring that we have every single tool available and those (areas) that we need help in, we have reached out for those help”.

Meanwhile, in responding to a question about certain leaders in Guyana signaling support to the activities that occurred after the killings, President Ali said that in any situation like what occurred in Berbice, “there is what you call political action and you can either be politically mature, or politically immature”. He expressed that it is left to citizens to examine the actions of the former President and Leader of the Opposition to decide which one they were.

“When you exploit a tense situation for political gains, it does nothing for the country, it does nothing for the people of the country…but these are challenges and circumstances that we have to deal with in a political environment and life itself,” he reasoned.

Amid the violent unrest which gripped the Berbice community following the deaths of the teens, President 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.

On September 6, the bodies of Isaiah and Joel Henry were found in a backdam at Cotton Tree, West Coast Berbice (WCB). They had left their Number Three Village, WCB home to pick coconuts in the backdam 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.

The news of their deaths sparked protests across several villages along the West Coast Berbice corridor, where commuters were beaten and robbed. With blocked roads, some vehicles were also torched.

And on September 9, 17-year-old Singh was found murdered at the Number Three Village backdam. 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.