The man who knew too much
By Michael Jordan
I first met him around 1993. He just walked into the Chronicle’s editorial department like he owned it; this tallish, slim, bearded man with a sheaf of papers in one hand, and the strangest story I had ever heard.
He told me that he had witnessed a murder and that the killer was a cop. We sat in the office, and he told me the story.
According to him, some months back, a team of policemen from Eve Leary had picked him up and taken him at night to the section of the Lamaha Canal known as ‘the blacka.’
He alleged that at least one other man, who was a suspect in a crime, was also taken to the area.
He claimed that as he watched, one of the policemen stripped to his underwear, tied a rope around the suspect and then forced the man into the ‘Blacka.’
According to the stranger, the policeman repeatedly dragged the suspect beneath the water until the man eventually drowned.
For some reason, the policemen spared the life of this man who had allegedly witnessed this heinous crime.
He told me that he had related his story to a senior attorney. I never wrote the story, but that was not the last time that I would hear about the incident.
A few months later, the case surfaced in the High Court with all its lurid details. The alleged eyewitness testified that the senior police rank had informed the suspect that they were going on a ‘bubble-session.’
According to him, the so-called ‘bubble session’ consisted of submerging the suspect in the Lamaha Canal until he perished.
No one was convicted in the case, although the senior officer was transferred from his post at Eve Leary.
To this day, there are some police ranks who are angry over what they feel were spurious claims against a brilliant detective.
Nine years passed before I met this controversial man again. This time, the circumstances were even more bizarre.
I was living in Hadfield Street, Lodge, and had two brief conversations with a burly chap who rode a large motorcycle and occasionally hung out in the area. Somehow, he found out that I was a journalist, and during one of our encounters, he commended me for an article I had written about hit-man Axel Williams, shortly after this alleged killer was slain.
I learned that he lived in Princes Street, Lodge, and I would soon learn that he was a central figure in the crime wave that had resulted in numerous kidnappings and murders.
One night in January 2004, I received information that yet another person had been gunned down in the city.
The victim, a Princes Street resident named Shafeek Bacchus, was sitting on a boulder outside his home when the occupants of a passing car riddled him with bullets.
When I arrived at the house, I saw the burly motorcyclist in the yard. When I was leaving, the man indicated that he wanted to talk to me.
I returned the following day, and the man, whose name was George Bacchus, took me to a room in Shafeek Bacchus’ three-storey house.
First off, he stated that the gunmen who had slain his brother had actually meant to silence him.
Then he told me he had worked with a squad of gunmen and a senior Government official, who were eliminating criminal elements they believed were responsible for the brutal crimes around the country.
Bacchus said that he provided the information and other members of the organisation did the killing.
One man suspected of being a serial rapist was gunned down at the back of the Botanic Gardens, he said.
He claimed that another was dismembered with a power saw.
But Bacchus said that he became disillusioned with the organisation after some of them began to execute petty criminals and even persons who were no longer committing crimes.
Now, he alleged, the same killers were targeting him.
I began to meet frequently with George Bacchus. It was after one of these visits that we realised that we had met years before, when he had visited me at the Chronicle with his unusual story.
George Bacchus also became an almost daily fixture in the media. He appeared on television and he was not afraid to talk.
Meantime, the alleged perpetrators behind the Shafeek Bacchus murder were arrested and charged. One of them, a former policeman, died under unusual circumstances at the Georgetown Hospital. The other suspects were subsequently freed. But it appeared that not everyone was buying George Bacchus’ tale.
Commissioner of Police Winston Felix himself expressed doubts about the alleged informant’s credibility.
“We were burned by this man before,” he stated at a press conference; no doubt referring to the allegations Bacchus had made against the police so many years ago.
I was asleep at my then Hadfield Street home at around 03:00 hrs on June 24 when the sound of a gunshot awoke me.
A few minutes later my cell phone rang and someone whispered: ‘They just kill George Bacchus.’
I ran across to the Bacchus residence. Only a few policemen were there. A few relatives of Bacchus were on the road. I learned that Bacchus had been shot dead while sleeping in his bed.
I wondered at the fact that this man, who claimed to be marked for death, had made himself such an easy target.
Adding to the surreal atmosphere was a large macaw in the Bacchus’ property that squawked a cordial: ‘Good Morning’ to everyone entering the yard.
Several hours passed before a team of undertakers emerged from the house and staggered down the stairs with Bacchus’ burly corpse.
It struck me that during all our encounters, Bacchus had spoken almost incessantly.
Now, the man who had known so much would never speak again.
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