Lindo Creek-Commission of Inquiry.

Cop recounts recovery of miners remains at Lindo Creek campsite

March 2 2018

Source

Relatives and friends of those killed at Lindo Creek in 2008 rallying in support of justice for them yesterday.

Close to a decade after the Lindo Creek killings, a former policeman yesterday recounted the recovery of  the charred remains of the eight miners at the crime scene.

Clensford Burnett, a Detective Sergeant at the time of the discovery, was the first witness when the public hearings of the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the killings began before Justice (Rtd) Donald Trotman at the Department of the Public Service, on Waterloo Street.

Initially scheduled to start on February 15th, the hearing was halted because witnesses did not show up but Trotman related yesterday that since then, the commission has held in-camera hearings, interviews, and even visited locations in Essequibo, where they were able to garner information from potential witnesses.

Burnt human bones and skulls had been discovered on June 21st, 2008 by Leonard Arokium, owner of the Lindo Creek mining camp. DNA tests done in Jamaica several years later confirmed that the remains had belonged to his son Dax Arokium, his brother Cedric and workers Compton Speirs, Horace Drakes, Clifton Wong, Lancelot Lee, Bonny Harry and Nigel Torres.

The eight men were mining for diamonds at the location when they met their gruesome deaths, sometime between June 9th and June 10th. After the miners were slaughtered, their bodies and belongings were burnt. They had reportedly had a ‘wash down’ (large find) yet there were no traces of any diamonds.

In his testimony, Burnett related that he, as part of a team of policemen, had visited the scene at Lindo Creek the day the brutal murders were reportedly uncovered by the owner of the camp site, where the miners were reportedly slain.

Burnett had also been a part of the team that travelled to Christmas Falls earlier that month on June 8th, 2008, when there was the report of the murder of Otis Fifee, called “Mud-Up”, a member of the Rondell ‘Fine Man’ Rawlins gang.

Rawlins has been implicated by the Joint Ser-vices—the Guyana Police Force and the Guyana Defence Force—in the Lindo Creek killings, but relatives have from the beginning expressed cynicism at this claim, some expressing the belief that it was the Joint Services that were behind the murders.

Burnett told the commission that on June 21st, the team journeyed to the interior location, taking a plane from Ogle to Kwakwani, then travelling by trail for about three hours using a Joint Services vehicle, before disembarking and walking west, for another four to five miles, “up and down through bushes” and “small creeks” to Lindo Creek.

They were led by members of the Joint Services, he said.

At the end of the journey, they encountered a clearing, about 117 feet in length and 108 feet in width, surrounding by trees, with a dredging operation set up near the south western side of the border.

Senior superintendents Thomas and Crawford were the most senior officers in the party.

There were two camps there, he recounted. The first, located on the southernmost side, was covered by a blue and green tarpaulin, and had a fireside, groceries and mechanical tools.

The next he described as appearing to be a “resting place” but unlike the first camp, this area was not covered.

The witness recalled that at the front of this camp, within the first 15 feet, there was a pile of charred remains, which was discovered to be human after checks uncovered skeletal bones, including limbs and part of a skull. He estimated that the heap was approximately one foot in height and eight feet in width.

But those were not the only things uncovered at the scene. Burnett revealed that after a search of the camp, they found a 7.62×35 calibre round and four 7.62x 39 spent shells, along with a sledgehammer, a Scotia Bank book, a battery operated watch, a birth certificate bearing the name “Barry Lloyd Patrick Harry,” a burnt passport, and a national identification card.

The items were photographed and Burnett later related that they were lodged at the Criminal Investigation Department when they returned later that day. He added that the next day he picked up the ammunition and spent shells, marked them, and handed them over to ballistic expert Sergeant Eon Jackson. The hammer, he said, was taken to the forensics lab. It is unclear what the results of the related analyses were, as Burnett said he was not made aware. He also could not say what happened to the other items that were found at the scene.

The remains

Burnett said that after the remains were discovered, he donned protective gear, scooped them up by hand, placed them on a polythene tarpaulin, and wrapped them. Four officers then fetched the remains back to the trail and they were transported to Kwakwani, where an undertaker from Lyken Funeral Parlour assisted with placing it onto a plane.

Dr Dawn Stewart, of Lyken and a mortician herself, appeared to testify at yesterday’s hearing.

Stewart physically identified Burnett as being one of the officers who was a part of the team that brought back the remains that day, after being asked to do so by CoI attorney Patrice Henry.

She related that the “lead mortuary help” on the day in question, now deceased, was sent to retrieve the remains of the miners after the parlour was contacted by the police force.

The remains were flown to Ogle and then transported to the funeral home, where they were kept until a few days later, when a post-mortem examination was scheduled.

Stewart explained that because of the condition of the remains, it was decided that DNA studies were needed and so it happened that the remains stayed in the custody of the parlour for four years before authorisation was given by the police for them to be released to the families at the conclusion of the investigations.

Stewart explained that she had visited CID and petitioned for eight coffins to be provided for the burial but was told only one was needed. After persisting however, she was able to acquire three coffins and the remains were split, entombed, and buried at the Le Repentir Cemetery.

On September 11th, 2012, the human remains were prepared for burial, and a service, organised by the parlour, was held for the one family that showed.

She related that one of the women present, who she recalled stating that her son had died, had indicated that their family had only been notified on the day of the burial, and presumed that the other families may not have been aware. However, the next day, Stewart said other families called to enquire and were informed about the proceedings.

Because they were not in receipt of the names of the deceased, and there was only one family present, Stewart said only two names were placed on the coffins prior to burial.

Asked if there was any advantage to having the remains buried against being stored, Stewart said remains are not usually kept refrigerated until the results for examinations have returned; rather, they are buried and then later retrieved if further investigations are required. She noted that although the police investigations were not through, they were not prepared to bury and retrieve.

The four years they kept the Lindo Creek murder remains, she said, is the longest the parlour has kept any remains in its 95 years of existence.

The scene revisited

Burnett had recalled that in July, 2008, the Lindo Creek camp was revisited with a team from Trinidad. They had come with their own helicopter, and samples were taken from the scene. Asked by Henry if he had heard from that team since, Burnett stated no.

Later on, he related, another visit was made with a team of Jamaican forensic officers. They reportedly took photos, and did further searches “deep into the area,” which turned up a wedding band, a belt head, and female clothing buried in the sand. He could not recall any other items.

The next time Burnett encountered the remains again was when the Jamaican team visited. The remains were uplifted from Lyken and transported to the Georgetown Public Hospital’s mortuary, where a pathologist on the team conducted an autopsy.

No family members were present for the examination, the results of which were not made known to Burnett.

Stewart had related that within the first two years, officers were called in approximately four times to take samples from the remains for testing.

The relatives

Winston Harry and Maureen Nurse-Harry, the father and widow of Bonny Harry, also took the stand yesterday.

The two both testified to last seeing the man in March, 2008, when his mother’s funeral was held.

Although Nurse-Harry testified to having received a monthly stipend from her husband during his time working the mines, she said that last time she received money from him was that March when he visited.

Asked if she was ever contacted by the police on the matter, she stated that shortly after she learnt of his death, police had visited her house making enquiries, but she had sent them away.

Her father-in-law had testified that the last time he saw Bonny Harry, he had given him a gun to take into Lindo Creek. The gun was reportedly licensed to the deceased, his father, and his brother.

He said that a few years ago a policeman came asking what he wanted to do with the remains and he explained that the question had irritated him because the remains were indistinguishable.

“…It nah gah mark. How you gon’ know is who own?” he stated. He related that he had heard the bones had been buried in Le Repentir but said he is not acquainted with any of the other families.

Harry also recalled once giving DNA samples to the police.

The next hearing of the CoI is scheduled for Tuesday, March 6th.

Winston Harry, father of Bonny Harry, testifying before the commission yesterday.

Maureen Nurse-Harry, widow of Bonny Harry, took the stand.

Retired police officer Clensford Burnett, who was in the Joint Services party that recovered the remains of the murdered miners.

Lyken Funeral Parlour mortician Dawn Stewart testifying.

Original Post

‘Fineman’ supporter leaked gang’s location to Jagdeo

-Freddie Kissoon tells inquiry

March 10 2018

Source

Columnist Freddie Kissoon on the stand yesterday.

 

The intelligence that led the Joint Services to the Rondell ‘Fineman’ Rawlins gang was fed to then president Bharrat Jagdeo by a supporter of the gang, newspaper columnist Freddie Kissoon testified yesterday.

Kissoon, a Kaieteur News columnist who had followed the 2008 massacre extensively, took the stand before the Lindo Creek massacre Commission of Inquiry (CoI) and expressed skepticism at the Joint Services’ account of the events leading to the killings. Police had claimed that the gang members, who were eventually killed during a shootout with lawmen, had been responsible for the deaths of the eight miners.

The CoI has been set up to inquire into the circumstances surrounding the killing of miners Dax Arokium, Cecil Arokium, Clifton Wong, Nigel Torres, Compton Speirs, Bonny Harry, Horace Drakes and Lancelot Lee and report its findings and recommendations to President David Granger.

On June 21st, 2008, after receiving reports that the men had been killed, Leonard Arokium, the owner of the diamond-mining operation, went there and discovered burnt bones and skulls. The two slain Arokiums were his son and brother, respectively.

 

“…One of the things that bothered me…that is, how the government came to know of the location of ‘Fineman’ and his gang…I thought it strange and unnerving that the police explanation is that the ‘Fineman’ gang crossed over from Christmas Falls and killed the men [the miners] because they told the security forces where the ‘Fineman’ gang is located. Almost a decade after, I still don’t believe that. Not based on the information I had first hand as to who was the person who gave the president that information about ‘Fineman,’” Kissoon stated.

The informant, he related, gained contact with the president through a “close aide” and relayed the information in exchange for a favour from the government of the day. “The person was more than just close to the ‘Fineman’ gang. He was one of the persons who nurtured the gang and provided logistical and resource support to the gang. I don’t think he was a friend of the President. He wanted something from the State or the government that was very vital to his life and he made his choice to relay information—and I think he did that from my source, which I consider reliable…he was facilitated by a close aide of the president to meet with the president and he gave the president that information. It was immediately after the joint squad went to Christmas Falls,” Kissoon testified.

The gang members had reportedly had an encounter with police at Christmas Falls on June 6th, when one of the members was shot and killed and six others escaped.

Apart from his criticism of the police’s account of the circumstances leading to the killings, Kissoon concluded that it was geographically impossible for the ‘Fineman’ gang to have crossed over to Lindo Creek from Christmas Falls while being pursued by the Joint Services.

He testified that in June, 2008, he met with Leonard Arokium, and he contended that based on evidence presented to him it would have been impossible for the members of the gang to achieve the physical feat as claimed by the police.

“…[He said] the security forces are covering up the matter and he would like my intervention as a media operative to tell—I remember his words—to tell the truth. That’s what he said…I remember him distinctly stating: I have proof that the security forces killed my employees and not the ‘Fineman’ gang and I need this to be publicised,” Kissoon told the CoI.

Kissoon said that Arokium presented him with photographs and maps, and spent a considerable amount of time describing the terrain in the area. The two reportedly met for more than two hours at the headquarters of the Catholic Standard, in the presence of its editor and two others who accompanied Arokium.

“I think the essential point that he wanted to get over was that it was logistically impossible for the ‘Fineman’ gang to have crossed over from Christmas Falls to Lindo Creek to kill his camping partners and his [son and brother] based on the fact that they were being pursued by the security forces,” he stated.

Kissoon said that his conclusion on the matter was based on Arokium’s evidence, as well as other information gathered from Joint Services members through interviews.

Kissoon, along with a colleague, the late Dale Andrews, had both followed and reported on the Lindo Creek massacre.

Asked by Chairman of the CoI Justice (Rtd) Donald Trotman if he thought it was important to have an onsite visit of Lindo Creek, Kissoon said that while he, along with Andrews, had attempted to do so, he did not think that visiting the site would have had an impact on the conclusion drawn.

“…We took the angle, myself and Dale Andrews, that… the ‘Fineman’ gang was not involved. There were too many unanswered questions…there were too many incongruous directions in confrontation with the police explanation,” Kissoon said.

“…I spoke to Arokium again. Arokium would call, saying someone had been using my son’s cellphone and I remember trying to ask the Commissioner of Police Henry Greene to discuss the matter…he just didn’t bother to answer, so I felt he didn’t want to answer,” the witness recalled, recounting that the late Police Pommissioner had changed the subject and brushed him off.

Kissoon testified that he had spoken with several members of the police force during his period of investigation, but could never manage to get information out of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) ranks. His conclusion was that it was an “elite contingent” that led the operation at Christmas Falls in June, 2008. Kissoon stated that he knew it was a member of the GDF that led the squad to Christmas Falls, but said he was unable to get anyone to relay the officer’s name or rank.

Also testifying yesterday was Onicka Butts, the widow of Dax Arokium, who testified to the man heading to the camp with a Nokia cellphone is his possession. There were reports that weeks after the massacre, a text message was sent to a friend of the deceased requesting credit. It was believed that the text was sent by Dax but that he lost signal before it was transmitted.

The CoI hearings are being held at the Department of the Public Service, on Waterloo Street, Georgetown. The next hearing of the commission will take place on March 13th.

Lack of transparency could lead to concocted stories – Jagdeo

 

Lindo Creek CoI

 

The lack of transparency and openness surrounding the operations of the controversial Lindo Creek Commission of Inquiry (CoI) could very well result in stories being concocted and falsified to accomplish a particular political outcome which in turn could support the wider and sinister political objectives of the ruling A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change coalition Government.
This is the position of Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo who on Thursday afternoon called for those responsible for overlooking the affairs of the Lindo Creek CoI to take urgent steps to remedy the manner in which hearings are being held and the quality of the entire process.
The presidential CoI has been established to enquire into the circumstances surrounding the killings of Cecil Arokium, Dax Arokium, Horace Drakes, Bonny Harry, Lancelot Lee, Compton Speirs, Nigel Torres and Clifton Berry Wong, on or about June 21, 2008 and to report the findings and recommendations to President David Granger.
The CoI was also established to investigate and make findings of facts on all matters in relation to the killings of the eight miners in the Upper Demerara-Upper Berbice region in June 2008. It will also make recommendations on actions to be taken against all persons and/or organisations that are deemed responsible for the deaths of those persons.
“At least be a bit transparent so that we know it is not some concocted thing,” the Opposition Leader urged on Thursday as he addressed media operatives. He went on to explain that he is at a loss as to what is really taking place at the CoI and during the in-camera hearings.
Jagdeo expressed even more skepticisms about the entire inquiry and the blackout of information about what is happening there and the amount that is independently reported in the media.
“I thought the whole idea of a CoI was to work in the open. Now I see the Government, having failed on a few attempts to get requisite interest, or the necessary interest, the CoI has now reverted to working behind the scenes. Why do you need a CoI if you’re working behind the scenes…” he had told media operatives.
“Working behind the scenes with witnesses creates a huge cause for worry because they could really be prepping people to come and lie at the CoI. It’s very, very dangerous,” he explained.
Moreover, Jagdeo maintained that he believes the decision to have a CoI into the Lindo Creek Massacre out of all the others that occurred prior to it, was “ill-advised from the very beginning.”
That inquiry got off to a rocky start after facing massive delays on the day it was originally scheduled to commence hearings as advertised publicly.
In February, Chairman of the Inquiry, retired Justice Donald Trotman informed journalists and special invitees that the Commission was forced to adjourn the hearing because of the lack of witnesses and prerequisites.
Justice Trotman could not share what those prerequisites are, as they are internal matters. However, regarding the lack of witnesses, Justice Trotman related those family members who were expected to appear before the Commission were facing some transportation and other issues.
“We have been expecting relatives of the deceased, but some of them have not been able to come, and some may arrive late, and the uncertainty of their presence is one of the factors that would make the hearing possible,” he related.
Since then, Commissioner Trotman and the Secretariat have been tight-lipped about both the numbers of witnesses that are expected to testify and the names of those who have already testified in camera. (Michael Younge)

 
Baseman posted:
ronan posted:

fineman gang did not kill the miners

jagdeo and rohee dem bloody well KNOW that!

all is theater

Fineman did not carry out Lusignan or Bartica, BJ and Ramotar did.  You Dumb fvck!

note to deflector

please address my post about Lindo Creek - the subject of this thread

i said nothing about Lusignan or Bartica!

come again better, and pls try not to curse

Evidence was sufficient to close Lindo Creek massacre probe

- former Top Cop Persaud testifies.

March 14 2018

Source

Seelall Persaud

The police were satisfied that there was sufficient evidence at the close of the Lindo Creek massacre case to determine with certainty those who were responsible for killing the eight miners, retired police commissioner Seelall Persaud testified yesterday.

Persaud, who had been the Crime Chief in 2008 when the massacre occurred, took the stand before the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the massacre and stated that the force was satisfied enough to follow the directions of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to no longer pursue police action on the case.

CoI Chairman Justice (rtd) Donald Trotman enquired as to whether any efforts were made to have a Coroner’s Inquest performed, to which Persaud stated that those are only done in cases where the cause of death of the individual is unknown, and that advice is usually passed by the DPP.

“I see it different in this case because the evidence collected would have shown with some amount of certainty who were responsible,” he stated.

“As Crime Chief, given the fact that the perpetrators that the investigation identified had all been killed except for one who had been cooperating with prosecutions on several other matters and given…we were comfortable with that,” Persaud said.

“You were comfortable with the advice of the DPP that the matter should be closed without any further action, including prosecution?” Trotman questioned, to which Persaud answered “yes.”

It has long been speculated by family members of the deceased that the Joint Services were responsible for the killing of the eight miners at Lindo Creek, although the police had reported that the ‘Fine Man’ gang had been behind the June, 2008 attack.

Asked if he had heard allegations of the Joint Services being involved, Persaud related that owner of the mining camp Leonard Arokium had gone to the press claiming such. He said that he was instructed to join a team which included Prime Minister Samuel Hinds to meet with Arokium. An interview was reportedly done and the man’s statement was taken.

When asked if anyone from the police force was contacted based on the allegations, Persaud said that the next day, he was informed that the matter had been handed over to the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) and so he was not privy to information coming out of the investigations after that. While he noted that he had ranks that worked along on the investigation, he clarified that it was the then head of the OPR that they reported to.

He further stated that months after the June killings, he was directed by then Police Commissioner Henry Greene to facilitate the completion of the matter, but he said that all statements had already been collected at that point.

He clarified that his ranks were not at Lindo Creek, but had been deployed to Christmas Falls earlier in June 2008 for an operation, where a member of the Fine Man Gang was reportedly killed. He also stated that he was unaware of whether any police force ranks were deployed there during that period.

 ‘Shootout’

The bodies of the miners were discovered on June 21st, 2008 by the camp owner, Leonard Arokium. It was previously reported that earlier that month, on June 8th, a team of Joint Services ranks had ventured into Christmas Falls, where a few days prior there had been a confrontation between ranks and members of the Fine Man gang. During that confrontation, one of the gang members, Otis Fifee, call-ed ‘Mud Up,’ was killed.

Persaud related that he was head of the team that was at Christmas Falls when the encounter occurred. The team, he recalled, included six other officers and civilians who were familiar with the area. The land, he later learned, was owned by former treason-accused Philip Bynoe.

The officers named were (now) Assistant Commissioner of Police Clifton Hicken, Deputy Superintendent Waithwright, Inspector Wade, Inspector Narine, Assistant Super-intendent Lowenfield and Deputy Superintendent Nurse.

Persaud testified that the team arrived at the right bank of Christmas Falls at around 5pm on June 5th and overnighted there. The next day, a team, led by Hicken, crossed the river by boat, and a confrontation occurred between the police and men reported to be a part of the Fine Man gang.

“..Early the following morning, Assistant Police Hicken crossed the river with the boat we took there and shortly after that I heard a series of gunshots…including rapid fire that lasted for a while. And, thereafter, I crossed the river using the same boat,” he recalled.

He said he observed Otis Fifee’s body with a gunshot wound to his face and saw that the ranks had seized nine firearms, including rifles, shotguns, handguns and ammunition.

The instructions to Hicken (which were reportedly the same instructions passed to Persaud from the then Commissioner of Police Greene) was to arrest the men at the camp. However, with the ranks coming under fire while approaching the site, fire was returned.

Persaud said he informed Greene about the encounter and they were instructed to withdraw from the area.

He later learned about the Lindo Creek massacre, which reportedly occurred a few days later and being informed by Greene that a team led by OPR and comprising of members of the Criminal Investigation Department, and ranks from divisions ‘E and F’ would be investigating the matter. He further stated that Superintendent Reid of the Major Crimes unit, (Rtd) Senior Superintendent Thomas and the head of the Crime Lab were instructed to provide assistance to OPR.

The eight miners— Dax Arokium, Cecil Arokium, Clifton Wong, Nigel Torres, Compton Speirs, Bonny Harry, Horace Drakes and Lancelot Lee—were mining for diamonds at the location when they met their gruesome deaths, sometime between June 9th and June 10th. After the miners were slaughtered, their bodies and belongings were burnt.

The CoI is to inquire into the circumstances surrounding the killings of the men and report its findings and recommendations to President David Granger.

The hearings are being held at the Department of the Public Service, on Waterloo Street, Georgetown.

The inquiry has been adjourned until tomorrow at 10 am.

Additionally, on Friday, March 16th, and on March 21st, the commission will be hosting public outreach meetings at the South Ruimveldt Gardens Secondary School and the Meten-Meer-Zorg Community Centre, respectively. Both meetings, which Trotman related are aimed at raising public awareness and facilitating information gathering, including suggestions to the commission, are scheduled to begin at 4pm.

Baseman posted:
ronan posted:

fineman gang did not kill the miners

jagdeo and rohee dem bloody well KNOW that!

all is theater

Fineman did not carry out Lusignan or Bartica, BJ and Ramotar did.  You Dumb fvck!

BS, where the heck you getting your info from.

Lusignan massacre  had no political or racist connection . A member of Fine man gang was in a relationship with a female that lives in that area, the relationship went sour 

The gang smoke up their herbs and walk into the area to kill her and the rest was history . 

That end of Lusignan has mixture of races .. Indian , blacks , Dougla , Amerindian  .

The criminals blood gets pump up and they shoot to kill .

unfortunately , it happens around the time of mass shooting and robbery .. politicians from all political party try to gain from it .

Not so soon

Source
Chairman of the Lindo Creek CoI Justice Ret’d Donald Trotman (Photos by Delano Williams)

…Lindo Creek commissioner shocked at police decision to close case

CHAIRMAN of the Lindo Creek Commission of Inquiry (CoI) Justice (Ret’d) Donald Trotman has expressed surprise that the Guyana Police Force closed the case into the mass murder at Lindo Creek back in 2008.

Outgoing Commissioner of Police Seelall Persaud

Justice Trotman made the comments during the testimony of outgoing Commissioner of Police Seelall Persaud on Tuesday. Persuad, who was the crime chief at the time of the Lindo Creek Massacre in June 2008, was instructed by then Commissioner of Police Henry Green to complete the murder investigation several months after the charred remains of the eight miners were discovered at a mining camp at Lindo Creek in the Upper Berbice River, Region 10. Initially, the matter was investigated by the Office of Professional Responsibility.

Under cross-examination by the Commission’s Chairman and Legal Counsel Patrice Henry, Persaud explained that upon completion of the case, a report was sent to the DPP for legal advice. Commissioner Trotman questioned Persaud on whether advice given by the DPP has to be followed. The DPP had reportedly advised that the case be closed.
“Matters involving criminal jurisdiction, we do. In matters involving disciplinary action against members of the force, not in all cases…most times the advice I see involving civil jurisdiction matters would be forwarded to the attorney general for further advice,” he explained.

Pressing for more answers, Justice Trotman asked if there are times when the DPP’s recommendations are not in keeping with those of the police, and if such would be followed; Persaud responded in the positive. “There are several times where the DPP’s advice is not in keeping with the recommendations of the investigator, or even the crime chief’s recommendations, but we take action in accordance with the advice of the DPP..,” he explained.

However, Persaud said in this case, he as the crime chief was comfortable with the advice of the DPP to close the case. “As crime chief, given the fact that the perpetrators that the investigation had identified had all been killed, except for one, who had been cooperating with prosecutors and others, and given that…I was comfortable with that,” Persaud told the Commission.

Persaud further indicated that he was not surprised at the recommendation of the DPP, and was comfortable with the decision to close the case. But Justice Trotman said he was “very surprised.”

Earlier in the hearing, the outgoing commissioner of police disclosed that from the DNA samples taken from relatives of all of the deceased miners, only three came back with positive results, based on a report submitted by the authorities in Jamaica. The DNA tests confirmed that Nigel Torres, Bonny Harry and another miner, whose name he could not recall, were among those murdered at Lindo Creek. The Trinidadian investigators had also submitted a report to the then police commissioer, that it did not include results from DNA samples taken.

He confirmed that the remains were kept at the Lyken Funeral Parlour, but could not confirm whether autopsies had been conducted. According to the Coroner’s Order, Pathologist Dr Nehaul Singh was identified to conduct the post-mortems but his name was crossed out, and replaced by another name. According to Persaud, upon the closure of the investigation, he instructed that the parlour bury the remains, but not before relatives of the identified men were informed, along with the camp owner Leonard Arokium.

“I am informed that one family indicated an interest, but also indicated that they cannot bear the expense and as a result, I instructed that the said parlour as per procedure bury the remains,” he recalled. Co-owner of Lyken’s Funeral Home, Dr Dawn Stewart, who had appeared before the Commissioner earlier this month, had said that the remains were buried at Le Repentir Cemetery on September 11, 2012, some four years after they were discovered.

All the family members who took the stand thus far have alleged that they were never informed of the murder of their loved ones by the Guyana Police Force, and had been left in the dark when the decision was made for the remains to be buried some four years after. The CoI is investigating the circumstances surrounding the killing of Cecil Arokium, Dax Arokium, Horace Drakes, Bonny Harry, Lancelot Lee, Compton Speirs, Nigel Torres and Clifton Berry Wong, on or about June 21, 2008 at Lindo Creek in the Upper Demerara/Upper Berbice Region.

Slain Lindo miner’s brother recounts discovery of remains at campsite

March 16 2018

Source

The recovery team that retrieved the remains of the eight miners slain at Lindo Creek in 2008 found a skull with an injury that appeared to have been inflicted by a sledge hammer also found at the scene, the brother of deceased miner Clifton Wong testified yesterday.

Courtney Wong is the second witness to give a public account of the journey to the campsite to the Commission of Inquiry, following  testimony by Detective Sergeant Clensford Burnett, who related traveling with a team of Joint Services officers to the area following the discovery of the bodies.

The witness told the commission yesterday that he had been asked by Leonard Arokium, the owner of the campsite, to lead the team to the area.

Both Wong and Burnett had testified to traveling there on June 21, 2008, however, Wong had stated specifically yesterday that it had been 6 am on Sunday morning when he left for Lindo Creek. He had also testified that Arokium had called him on June 21st to inform him of the killings. It is therefore likely the recovery team traveled to the mining site on Sunday, June 22nd, 2008.

 

In his place

Wong testified that he last saw his brother in June, 2008, two days before he left for Lindo Creek.

According to the witness, when Clifton left to work at the Lindo Creek mining site in June, 2008, he was filling in for him [Courtney].

Wong related to the commission that he had been the Arokiums’ designated mechanic for the operations, however, he could not make the trip because of his workload at the time.

The man stated that he had traveled to Lindo Creek about five times, and the longest time spent at the mining camp was a week.

On the 21st of that month, Courtney said he received a call from Arokium informing him that something “serious” had happened at the camp.

“On the 21st, Mr Arokium call me and tell me that something serious happen, that they shoot and kill and bun up all the boys. You know, I know how he speaks fast and so, I seh, ‘Man, wah you saying?’ He seh, ‘Man, I tell yuh, they kill all them boys man, they kill all them boys,”” he recalled.

He said he did not press the issue, but instead visited Arokium’s son’s residence to get a better understanding of the story. Later on, the senior Arokium would call him again and relate that he had gotten a visit from the Commis-sioner of Police, Prime Minister and Minister of Home Affairs, who tried to convince him that the ‘Fine Man’ gang had been behind the massacre.

“…He said he blatantly told them that he doesn’t believe in that…,” Wong stated. However, Arokium reportedly asked him to accompany a team to Lindo Creek, which he agreed to do.

He recalled being picked up around 6 am on Sunday by a police officer, following which he said government pathologist Dr Nehaul Singh was picked up. They went to Ogle, flew to Timehri, and then to Kwakwani, from where he said, he, Singh and the pilot flew to UNAMCO road, where they awaited the arrival of the rest of the team.

It should be noted that this was the first time the commission was hearing that Dr Singh was present along with the team that went to Lindo Creek that day.

Wong had earlier related to the commission that there is a gate along UNAMCO road where vehicles are required to stop and be checked, and a toll paid. After clearing the gate, you would reportedly have to travel for another 45 minutes before reaching the entrance of the trail to Lindo Creek.

Wong recalled that on the day he traveled with the Joint Services team, there was a heavy army presence at the gate.

The campsite

The Arokiums’ camp, according to the witness, used to be located at the bottom of the hill, but on the last occasion that he traveled there, they had taken the engine to the hill’s top.

He recalled that the journey was “physically challenging”, and when they arrived at the old camp, they rested, and when the rest of the team moved on, the more senior officers stayed behind. Dr Singh also reportedly stayed behind on Wong’s recommendation, sending his team members ahead.

They continued on the journey, and the witness recollected seeing a tarpaulin even before getting to the site. He said they walked through the kitchen, which was ransacked, with rice, flour, potatoes, etc., scattered everywhere. They then proceeded to the living quarters, which he noted was uncovered.

“The first thing I observed: no tarpaulin. Secondly, no hammock, no clothes, no nothing. Deserted,” he recalled. “We keep walking alongside the camp, that’s where we discover a pile, a heap, with some bones,” he added.

 

It was located at the end of the sleeping area, he said, and appeared to be packed in a pile from the way the bones were arranged.

Spent Shells

Wong related that a police officer directed them to form a line to comb the area, but noted that during the exercise, no spent shells were found. However, later on, when everyone had dispersed and were engaged in their respective tasks, another officer would reportedly discover three spent shells at the scene.

At the time, Wong said he had been with Singh’s team sorting out the remains.

“…In sorting out the remains, we realised that we have to move them from there and place them somewhere else. So, we went to the kitchen and we took off the tarpaulin from the kitchen…And we fold the tarpaulin in half and put it next to the remains. And we started to take out shoulder bones, discs, you know—all the big bones that remained, that the fire could not have burnt to ash. They had skulls that was totally burnt to an extent where a next two minutes it would start crumbling. That’s where we found a skull with a hole,” the witness recalled.

Wong stated that nearby they found two hammers, and when checked, one of the hammers fit snugly into the hole of the skull.

“…Whilst that process was going on, a police said “look ah find a spent shell”…we went across. He picked up a spent shell, put it in a bag…everybody gone back to their normal thing. Two minutes after, “Look ah find another one!” One person finding everything,” Wong added, with a hint of skepticism in his voice.

“…Three spent shell we found—he said he found,” Wong stated.

“The same police?” attorney for the commission Patrice Henry asked.

“The same police, no other police ain’t find nothing,” the witness returned.

“And this is the same area that was already combed?” Henry pressed.

“Already combed.”

In Burnett’s testimony, he recalled the search team also finding a 7.62×35 calibre round and four 7.62x 39 spent shells, along with a sledgehammer, a Scotia Bank book, a battery operated watch, a birth certificate bearing the name “Barry Lloyd Patrick Harry,” a burnt passport, and a national identification card.

Wong also mentioned a passport and other documents being among the items found.

The witness added that he checked the engine at the camp and found a full pail of fuel, which is usually left by the workmen in anticipation of the next day’s work. He related that before work begins in the morning, the men would usually load 5 gallon pails downhill and fetch it up to the camp, but he noted that he found no excess containers of fuel.

Overwhelmed

Meanwhile, Wong’s testimony had to be stopped after his niece, one of Clifton Wong’s daughters, fainted during the hearing.

The young woman was rushed to the hospital to receive medical attention while still in an unconscious state.

Her mother, Colette Wong, and sister, Sheneza Romain, also testified before the commission yesterday. They both related that Clifton had promised to send money for Sheneza’s birthday, celebrated on June 13th, but other than a phone call to his wife while at the stop at Kwakwani, before heading in to Lindo Creek, they never heard from him again.

Burnt human bones and skulls had been discovered on June 21st, 2008 by Leonard Arokium. DNA tests done in Jamaica several years later confirmed that the remains had belonged to his son Dax Arokium, his brother Cedric Arokium and workers Wong, Compton Speirs, Horace Drakes, Lancelot Lee, Bonny Harry and Nigel Torres.

The eight men were mining for diamonds at the location when they met their gruesome deaths. After the miners were killed, their bodies and belongings were burnt.

The next public hearing to be hosted by the commission is scheduled for Thursday, March 22nd.

Govt Pathologist: Burnt remains of Lindo Creek miners removed improperly; never witnessed post mortem or saw reports

March 22 2018

Source

Government Pathologist, Dr. Nehaul Singh testifying before the Lindo Creek Commission of Inquiry.

Government Pathologist, Dr. Nehaul Singh on Thursday said proper procedures might not have been followed in removing the burnt remains of the eight miners at Lindo Creek in 2008, and he also said he refused to observe the autopsies that were conducted by a Jamaican team that had been brought into Guyana.

Singh, a Cuban-trained highly experienced pathologist, also said he never saw the reports of the post mortems conducted by the Jamaican team that was headed by an Indian national.

He told a presidential Commission of Inquiry into the Lindo Creek massacre that after his first attempt to reach the scene at the Upper Berbice River was aborted, before he could have made a second planned effort, he had seen on the television news that the remains had been brought to the City.

Under examination by Attorney-at-Law for the Commission of Inquiry, Patrice Henry, the Government Pathologist said had he gone to the crime scene he would have ensured as far as possible that the bones were separated. Unlike a cremated person, he said he saw bones and skulls which he said would have provided a better opportunity for examination.

Attorney-at-Law for the Lindo Creek Commission of Inquiry, Patrice Henry (left) speaking with Inquiry Commissioner, Retired Justice Donald Trotman.

“This is called disaster management. You need to know what you are doing…Eight people are there. You got to be careful how  you removing these things. The problem is that you need to get it separated as much as possible. You just can’t go and scoop them up and put them in a bag and bring them. You not selling mangoes or whatever it is.

Singh said he even though the bodies were on top of each other, “you must see an outline unless they are totally burnt” which would make it “easier to examine”.  The Government Pathologist said he suggested to then Police Commissioner Henry Green that there was need for a Forensic Anthropologist who deals with bones and “that would have been better for anybody” but h never heard back anything from the then top cop.

Singh virtually ruled out the possibility of making any findings even if the bones were exhumed because after  10 years they would have probably already been disintegrated. “You won’t find anything, very difficult,” he said. He also recalled suggesting informally that the bones should be buried at one location with a tombstone of the names of the deceased miners to bring closure to the incident and make available the remains at one location for exhumation if required.

While the bones were in storage for four years, the Pathologist said he never conducted an autopsy. He recalled when he was informed by then Police Commissioner Greene that a Jamaican team was here to conduct the autopsies, he responded by telling the then top civilian law enforcement officer that he would not be observing anyone and he merely guided them to the mortuary and other officials. Singh bluntly told the Commission of Inquiry being conducted by Retired Justice Donald Trotman that he was not prepared to be  a junior functionary witnessing the process.

“I am willing to work with anybody but I am not going to be subservient to anyone,” he said. He said he never saw a report by the Jamaican-Indian pathologist.

The Government Pathologist said, in keeping with Guyana’s laws, police are supposed to observe autopsies but he was unsure whether anyone from the Guyana Police Force had been there.

He also confirmed that his name was scratched out and replaced by that of the Jamaican-Indian pathologist, but he never knew that was done.

Retired Police Commissioner, Seelall Persaud, who had led a team to the Upper Berbice location of Christmas Falls., has already testified that they never went to Lindo Creek because then Police Commissioner, Henry Greene had instructed that the team return to Georgetown after they had engaged and killed one person and recovered several guns.

Dax Arokium, his brother Cedric and workers- Compton Speirs, Horace Drakes, Clifton Wong, Lancelot Lee, Bonny Harry and Nigel Torres.

Rawlins and gang killed the miners to steal their diamonds. No one ever gives you something for nothing. My brother my sister black bullsh-t can only pay for 20 percent of the equipment that he and gang were getting. Rawlings needed money to pay his suppliers for guns, ammunition,  medical and food supplies. That is also the reason why he and gang attacked the gold buyers in Bartica.

skeldon_man posted:
Baseman posted:
ronan posted:

fineman gang did not kill the miners

jagdeo and rohee dem bloody well KNOW that!

all is theater

Fineman did not carry out Lusignan or Bartica, BJ and Ramotar did.  You Dumb fvck!

Ronan is ???? reincarnated on GNI.

Redux????

Baseman posted:
skeldon_man posted:
Baseman posted:
ronan posted:

fineman gang did not kill the miners

jagdeo and rohee dem bloody well KNOW that!

all is theater

Fineman did not carry out Lusignan or Bartica, BJ and Ramotar did.  You Dumb fvck!

Ronan is ???? reincarnated on GNI.

Redux????

Hehehehe!!!!

Prashad posted:

Rawlings and gang burned the miners bodies so as not to attract wild animals from the scent of the dead bodies.  They intended to stay in the camp for a while.

so they left bodies with burnt flesh on them unburied

you are quite the genius

skeldon_man posted:
ronan posted:
Baseman posted:

Redux????

alyuh prappa friken dat man, eh?

That is why he got banned permanently? So you are the reincarnated Redux? Or should we say Ronan-Redux?

De Banna has been busted. He trying to talk like a big man but ran away like a lil girl de last time crying hard, hard and claiming discrimination. 

ronan posted:
Prashad posted:

Rawlings and gang burned the miners bodies so as not to attract wild animals from the scent of the dead bodies.  They intended to stay in the camp for a while.

so they left bodies with burnt flesh on them unburied

you are quite the genius

They did not have time to bury the bodies.  Burning was enough to keep away the wild animals for a short time.  Something made them leave the camp site instead of staying. They just did not have the time to bury the bodies.

ronan posted:
yuji22 posted:

De Banna has been busted. He trying to talk like a big man but ran away like a lil girl de last time crying hard, hard and claiming discrimination. 

more irony

lol

Heheheeee ...yugi talkin bout runnin away like a lil gurl..aiaiaiaiai

No report filed on OPR’s two-week probe into allegation against joint service – Lindo Creek CoI hears

Source

Although it is a standard practice to file official reports after investigations, the two-week probe by the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) into allegations of police involvement in the Lindo Creek Massacre, saw no such report being compiled.

Deputy Head of Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), Heeralall Mackhanlall.

Instead, a verbal report was allegedly given to the then OPR Head, the late Mohammed Jameer, the Commission of Inquiry (COI) into the 2008 Lindo Creek Massacre was told today.

Appearing before the commission was former Deputy Head of the OPR, Heeralall Mackhanlall. He said that a week after the remains of the miners were discovered in June 2008, he was instructed by the Head of the unit, Mohammed Jameer to conduct an investigation into the “rumour” that was being peddled at the time.

The story was that the killing was carried out by the joint services. Mackhanlall, who now heads the OPR, said he then ventured to Kwakwani and met with some senior police officers of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). The COI heard that Mackhanlall’s objective was to ascertain whether there was evidence that would link the joint services to the killing. He told the COI that he interviewed the ranks, as well as some residents of Kwakwani, that were there at the time.

Mackhanlall stated that the following day a site visit of the murder was made to determine if there were any camps in proximity, but nothing was found. He said during the inquiry, he was unable to determine where the “rumours” were originated.

Assistant Commissioner of Operations, Clifton Hicken.

Mackhanlall was further questioned by Commission Counsel, Patrice Henry. The COI heard that he was able to establish that there were 23 members of the joint services that were patrolling the area; 12 police officers and 11 officers of the Guyana Defense Force (GDF). He was made aware that the firearms of the joint services members were tested for ballistics.

Today also saw the appearance of Assistant Commissioner of Operations, Clifton Hicken, who in June 2008 was an Assistant Superintendent and Head of the Tactical Service Unit (TSU). Hicken said on June 5, 2008, he was in Kwakwani when he received a call from then Crime Chief, Seelall Persaud.

He was informed of the possibility of the “Fine man” gang’s presence in the Christmas Falls area. Hicken told the commission that he journeyed through the Unamco trail and reached Christmas Falls late that afternoon.

The former TSU officer said he and his team who overnighted at Christmas falls heard gunshots during the course of the night. The following day they ventured to the area where the gunshots were heard. After a 30-minute journey on foot, they found four men; three in an abandoned building and one in the garden. One of the men, he reported, resembled the fugitive “Fine man” that was pictured on a wanted bulletin. He said an exchange of fire ensued leaving one of the men mortally wounded in the process. He recalled that the team had found several rifles, except a missing AK rifle. He said the men possibly escaped with the AK rifle.

http://demerarawaves.com/2018/...-head-of-police-opr/

Investigation did not rule in or rule out Joint Services in killing of Lindo Creek miners- Head of Police OPR

 

Head of the Guyana Police Force’s Office of Special Responsibility, Retired Assistant Commissioner, Heeralall Mackanlall.

Head of the Guyana Police Force’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), Retired Assistant Commissioner Heeralall Mackanlall on Tuesday said conceded that he was unable to eliminate or implicate the Joint Services in the killing of eight miners at Lindo Creek, Upper Berbice River 10 years ago.

Attorney-at-Law for the Commission of Inquiry, Patrice Henry: Would you agree with me that at the end of your investigation you were unable to eliminate or implicate the Joint Services?

Mr. Mackanlall: Yes, Sir

Mr. Henry: So just as how the allegation surfaced or as you put it the rumour surfaced, at the end of the two weeks you were back to the same position; nothing useful came out.

Mr. Mackanlall: That’s right, Sir.

Now Retired Police Commissioner, Seelall Persaud, who had led the team of policemen to Christmas Falls on June 5, 2008, has already told the Commission of Inquiry that the Director of Public Prosecutions had requested that the case file be closed.

Assistant Police Commissioner, Clifton Hicken said he and a party of policemen engaged several men, including one he recognised as wanted man, Rondell “Fineman” Rawlins at Christmas Falls. At the end of the 20 minute exchange of gunfire, he said several weapons and ammunition were found and one man was seen motionless. However, they did not pursue the men and instead returned to Georgetown because they were unaware of the terrain and were not prepared for the firepower that the five men had.

“We were told to return to Georgetown. On our return to Georgetown, I did a brief because I was the tactical person there. I briefed the then Commissioner Greene and he alluded that the then Joint Services would take it from there. The reason for my brief was to let them understand the level of fire-power they are going against and what is expected so coming out of these briefs, you tool and then you deploy,” he said.

Hicken said he was never at Lindo Creek and he does not know what the place looks like. He said for the remainder of June 2008, he was stationed at the Tactical Services Unit where he remained throughout that month.

Mackanlall, then Deputy Head of OPR, told the Commission of Inquiry presided over by Retired Justice Donald Trotman that he had been assigned by the then Head, Retired Deputy Commissioner Mohammed Jameer to probe claims that the Joint Services had killed the miners at Lindo Creek. He said several persons and three security guards were questioned along the UNAMCO Road and check-point, as well as members of the Joint Services and relatives of the deceased whose names he could not remember but he was certain were in a report.

Assistant Commissioner of Police, Clifton Hicken looking at several pictures that were shown to him by Inquiry Commissioner, Retired Justice Donald Trotman.

“I think that Ramsey put up a comprehensive report on this matter. I think CID prepared a file and I am aware Ramsey did the report,” said Mackanlall.

Mackanlall said gold miner GeorgeArokium, whose son, Dax, perished in the massacre, had informed him that Yonnette Torres had claimed that police and soldiers killed the miners. However,Mackanlall said when Torres was questioned she denied ever saying so. During his testimony before the one-man presidential commission of inquiry, Mackanall, however, could not say where allegation of the involvement by police and soldiers originated from. “During my enquiry, I was unable where the rumours came from,” he said.

Under examination by Attorney-at-Law for the Commission, Patrice Henry, the OPR Head said he was able to ascertain that the joint services was patrolling the Lindo Creek area but he could not remember the names of the 12 police and 11 soldiers.

At that juncture of Tuesday’s hearing, it appeared that there was poor police recording and storage of information gathered during the course of the investigation of the criminal act. “I can’t remember the names of the ranks. I made notes on a scratch-pad that I had,” he said. When asked by the Inquiry Commissioner whether he had stored those names in a more permanent form such a s statement and if the then OPR Head, Jameer had ever asked him for them, Mackanlall responded “no, Sir”.  He said the reason for that was that he was told that the Criminal Investigations Department was continuing the probe. The then Deputy Head of OPR also added that no report was submitted to then Head, Mr Jameer at the end of the investigation. “I should have done that,” he added.

He recalled that records and statements had been handed over to Mr. Jameer and then Deputy Head of the Criminal Investigations Department, Mr. Crawford.

He said the names of the joint services members should be at the Police Headquarters where the then headquarters of E and F Division was located. He, however, recalled that among the party were one Sewnarine who was in charge of the police team;  Lieutenant Woolford who headed the Guyana Defence Force team and and Captain Souvenir who was in charge of the army’s Special Forces. Mackanlall said the three persons submitted statements as part of the probe.

He added that the guns were tested by ranks of the Jamaica Constabulary Force and by a Guyanese Inspector Jackson who was under the supervision of Retired Senior Superintendent Thomas who was in charge of the Crime Laboratory at the times. However, Mackanlall said no spent shells were recovered from the scene and because one week had already passed, that time lapse had already eliminated the need for gun powder residue tests to be conducted on the hands of members of the joint services team.

Further grilled by Justice Trotman on whether he had recorded in a book at OPR what had transpired during his investigations, Mackanlall said he did not do so because there was no book. “No such book in which would have recorded what transpired. No book, we had no book at OPR at that time. Subsequently, a book was opened to record complaints,” said Mackanlall, a former Head of the Criminal Investigations Department.

The Head of OPR said he had never obtained any information from the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission whether there had been any nearby mining camps that had been granted permission.

Assistant Commissioner of Police, Clifton Hicken taking the oath as a witness before the Lindo Creek Commission of Inquiry.

Assistant Commissioner Hicken acknowledged that it was possible that other members of the Tactical Services Unit of which he was Head at the time, might have been part of a Joint Services team.  Hicken said neither Mackanlall, anyone else from the OPR or CID ever questioned him about allegations made by civilians about his involvement at Lindo Creek. “No, Sir and it would have been unwise for him to ask me that,” Hicken told Justice Trotman.

Hicken, who said he joined the team at Ituni, told the Commission that he had never gone to Christmas Falls before and had no clear of idea of where he was going, but at the same time ruled out that he was instead at Lindo Creek. “It could not have been Sir,” Hicken said while giggling.

The  now Assistant Police Commissioner, after  he was shown photographs of the dead miners, was asked if they resembled members of the Fineman gang. “Not those who I encounter, No, Commissioner,” he said, when asked whether they resembled those gang members.

Django posted:

Not so soon

Source
Chairman of the Lindo Creek CoI Justice Ret’d Donald Trotman (Photos by Delano Williams)

…Lindo Creek commissioner shocked at police decision to close case

CHAIRMAN of the Lindo Creek Commission of Inquiry (CoI) Justice (Ret’d) Donald Trotman has expressed surprise that the Guyana Police Force closed the case into the mass murder at Lindo Creek back in 2008.

Outgoing Commissioner of Police Seelall Persaud

Justice Trotman made the comments during the testimony of outgoing Commissioner of Police Seelall Persaud on Tuesday. Persuad, who was the crime chief at the time of the Lindo Creek Massacre in June 2008, was instructed by then Commissioner of Police Henry Green to complete the murder investigation several months after the charred remains of the eight miners were discovered at a mining camp at Lindo Creek in the Upper Berbice River, Region 10. Initially, the matter was investigated by the Office of Professional Responsibility.

Under cross-examination by the Commission’s Chairman and Legal Counsel Patrice Henry, Persaud explained that upon completion of the case, a report was sent to the DPP for legal advice. Commissioner Trotman questioned Persaud on whether advice given by the DPP has to be followed. The DPP had reportedly advised that the case be closed.
“Matters involving criminal jurisdiction, we do. In matters involving disciplinary action against members of the force, not in all cases…most times the advice I see involving civil jurisdiction matters would be forwarded to the attorney general for further advice,” he explained.

Pressing for more answers, Justice Trotman asked if there are times when the DPP’s recommendations are not in keeping with those of the police, and if such would be followed; Persaud responded in the positive. “There are several times where the DPP’s advice is not in keeping with the recommendations of the investigator, or even the crime chief’s recommendations, but we take action in accordance with the advice of the DPP..,” he explained.

However, Persaud said in this case, he as the crime chief was comfortable with the advice of the DPP to close the case. “As crime chief, given the fact that the perpetrators that the investigation had identified had all been killed, except for one, who had been cooperating with prosecutors and others, and given that…I was comfortable with that,” Persaud told the Commission.

Persaud further indicated that he was not surprised at the recommendation of the DPP, and was comfortable with the decision to close the case. But Justice Trotman said he was “very surprised.”

Earlier in the hearing, the outgoing commissioner of police disclosed that from the DNA samples taken from relatives of all of the deceased miners, only three came back with positive results, based on a report submitted by the authorities in Jamaica. The DNA tests confirmed that Nigel Torres, Bonny Harry and another miner, whose name he could not recall, were among those murdered at Lindo Creek. The Trinidadian investigators had also submitted a report to the then police commissioer, that it did not include results from DNA samples taken.

He confirmed that the remains were kept at the Lyken Funeral Parlour, but could not confirm whether autopsies had been conducted. According to the Coroner’s Order, Pathologist Dr Nehaul Singh was identified to conduct the post-mortems but his name was crossed out, and replaced by another name. According to Persaud, upon the closure of the investigation, he instructed that the parlour bury the remains, but not before relatives of the identified men were informed, along with the camp owner Leonard Arokium.

“I am informed that one family indicated an interest, but also indicated that they cannot bear the expense and as a result, I instructed that the said parlour as per procedure bury the remains,” he recalled. Co-owner of Lyken’s Funeral Home, Dr Dawn Stewart, who had appeared before the Commissioner earlier this month, had said that the remains were buried at Le Repentir Cemetery on September 11, 2012, some four years after they were discovered.

All the family members who took the stand thus far have alleged that they were never informed of the murder of their loved ones by the Guyana Police Force, and had been left in the dark when the decision was made for the remains to be buried some four years after. The CoI is investigating the circumstances surrounding the killing of Cecil Arokium, Dax Arokium, Horace Drakes, Bonny Harry, Lancelot Lee, Compton Speirs, Nigel Torres and Clifton Berry Wong, on or about June 21, 2008 at Lindo Creek in the Upper Demerara/Upper Berbice Region.

Trotman still alive.  Last time I saw him 60 years ago he was an old man in the arms of an old white woman.

Police appeared to have abandoned probe of Lindo Creek murders

-Hughes tells CoI.

-says killings may have occurred earlier than believed

April 5 2018

Source

Relatives of the victims of the Lindo Creek massacre were “outraged” that the Guyana Police Force (GPF) appeared to have more interest in identifying the bodies, than conducting an actual investigation, attorney Nigel Hughes testified yesterday.

Hughes, who represents the relatives of the eight miners murdered at a Lindo Creek mining camp in 2008, appeared yesterday before the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) set up by the government to investigate their deaths, where he stated that it appeared that the police had “abandoned” the investigation.

Since the discovery of the remains of Cecil Arokium, Dax Arokium, Horace Drakes, Bonny Harry, Lancelot Lee, Compton Speirs, Nigel Torres and Clifton Wong by owner of the mining camp Leonard Arokium on June 21st, 2008, there have been claims by family members that the Joint Services had a hand in the deaths of the men.

Aside from Hughes’ observation that the former Commissioner of Police Henry Greene appeared to have been delaying the investigation, other major pieces of evidence that came out of yesterday’s proceedings was a suggestion that the “black clothes police” had some involvement in the crime; that the now deceased Uree Varswyck was a part of the Joint Services team that went into Lindo Creek; and that the miners may have been killed earlier than had been previously reported.

It was previously reported that earlier that month, on June 6th, a team of Joint Services ranks had ventured into Christmas Falls, where a few days prior there had been a confrontation between ranks and members of the Fine Man gang. During that confrontation, one of the gang members, Otis Fifee, called ‘Mud Up,’ was killed.

Hughes related that in September 2008, after several correspondences had been exchanged between himself and Greene, he had had cause to write to the Commissioner highlighting the concerns of the family members.

“…there was a very pesky exchange between myself and Commissioner Greene in which I indicated to the Commissioner that we had virtually lost confidence in the ability of the Guyana Police Force to conduct a fair investigation or any investigation with credit at all…I had indicated to him that we, since the end of June to early July, had offered these services and now it appeared as if he had deliberately delayed an investigation and we expressed those sentiments, and he responded in, I would say, a similar tone,” Hughes stated.

Hughes shared that numerous attempts were made by him on behalf of the relatives to secure experts from the Forensic Science Service (FSS), a United Kingdom-based company in the weeks following the discovery of the remains.

Hughes said that the major concern was that with each day that passed, the crime scene was being degraded and open to contamination, jeopardizing the integrity of an independent investigation.

He recalled writing to Greene, first on June 30, 2008, informing him of the availability of those experts. He reported receiving a response the next day, acknowledging receipt of same.

That first letter Hughes sent had also been carbon copied to the Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force Gary Best, as the joint services were being accused of having some involvement in the deaths of the men.

Hughes stated that the same day Greene replied, he learnt that the government was seeking to procure the services of a United States forensics company, and so once again, he wrote to the Commissioner, this time relaying all the relevant information for securing the services of those at the FSS, who had been conducting investigations in Trinidad at the time.

That letter too was copied to Best, as well as the British High Commissioner and the Minister of Home Affairs, Clement Rohee.

The US team was never procured, and most notably, it was years before tests confirmed that the remains of the miners had been identified.

Hughes related that they had even begun raising funds to bring in the experts but said they would have still needed the permission of the police before work could be conducted.

Phone records

Hughes yesterday produced to the commission the phone records of Dax Arokium, whose cellphone relatives found out was being used after his death.

The lawyer stated that the documents showed calls being made from as early as August 18 to as late as August 25, 2008, with some calls lasting nearly as long as three minutes.

Hughes recalled calling some of numbers himself but said he suspected that the calls were terminated after he failed to provide a satisfactory response to the questions posed by the persons on the other end.

He stated that Greene had denied that the police were aware of the phone number, but said he informed the Commissioner that his information was incorrect, as Mr Arokium had given that information to police when they visited his residence.

Timeline narrowed

Reports have suggested that the eight miners were killed sometime between June 9th and 10th, 2008, but Hughes believes, based on the testimonies of clients, that the men may have died as early as June 7th.

Hughes testified yesterday that Yonnette Torres, mother of Nigel Torres, was reported to have seen Dax Arokium in the backdam, on June 5.

In a statement given to him by Torres, which was read by Hughes during the hearing yesterday, the woman related that she asked Dax Arokium whether he knew the joint services were in the area and asked that he warn her son to be careful.

Later that week, she recounted seeing a mechanic that worked with them at the camp and he said he assured her that her son was okay, she would see him again that same week.

“…On father’s day, the joint forces came down the river, ie, the black clothes, I went and I spoke to one of them. I told him I have a son in the backdam and he said with his face very suspicious that there was no one in the backdam. He then told me that they have “boomed” the backdam, ie, they destroyed everything in the backdam. The next day, my sister called and asked when last I had seen my son….I told her I didn’t know and I was beginning to worry. She then told me that I should ask around because she had heard that the joint services had shot some boys down in the backdam,” Hughes read from the statement.

She had further stated that she later learned that her son had died and that “Mr Rookie” (Arokium) had gone into the backdam and found “nothing but bones”.

Another client, who had reportedly worked as a guard along the checkpoint of the UNAMCO road (he was named but Hughes stated that the man had refused to sign his statement because he was fearful for his life), had reportedly told Hughes of an encounter with the police on June 7, when he and another were picked up.

The man, according to the attorney, stated that the police had searched their camp that day, found narcotics, and picked them up and taken  them to Christmas Falls, where they were instructed to clean the area.

“While they were at Christmas Falls they heard gunshots but they weren’t from that group of police that had taken them, they were from somewhere else,” Hughes related, noting that Lindo Creek is only located some miles away from the falls.

The men were left there and so had to walk back to their location. The man told Hughes that when he got back later that night, he received a call that the men at Lindo Creek had been killed.

“So if you marry that information with that from Ms Torres, who saw Dax Arokium on the 5th, it seems to suggest that this event took place sometime between the 5th and the evening of the 7th,” Hughes concluded.

Torres reported that there had been a heavy police presence in the area for that week, including helicopters patrolling and fuel being transported in and out of the backdam, which would make it unlikely for the Fine Man gang to have burnt the bodies without the joint services being aware.

Of note, is that the Head of the Office for Professional Responsibility Heeralall Mackhanlall had told the commission that Arokium reported being told by Torres of the Joint Services’ involvement, but Mackhanlall said that when he confronted her during his investigations, she denied it.

Hughes said repeatedly yesterday that there was distrust of the Joint Services, noting that that was the reason Arokium had gone to the media before the police and why an independent investigation was warranted.

Information reaching Hughes is that Varswyck, the former police officer who was killed last September after breaking out of the Camp Street Prison and evading the police for more than a month, was a part of the Joint Services team that traveled to Lindo Creek.

He testified that Varswyck was said to have worked under an officer who is still a serving member of the police force, but whose name Hughes would not relay in fear that exposure would make him a target. Hughes made reference to the fate of a former client, George Bacchus, who was gunned down, after implicating a member of the force.

Also testifying yesterday was retired Assistant Commissioner Winston Cosbert, who served as Assistant Commissioner of Police in 2012, when he was asked to make contact with the families of the deceased to make arrangements for burial.

The public hearings of the commission are on hold under further notice.

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