Buxton is not the only community that needs answers to the crime wave of 2001-2006. No doubt Buxton also suffered as a result of that wave but let it be remembered that it was within that village that some of the criminals found safe haven and it was from that village that they let loose their fury on other parts of the country.
For those acts and for the terror that emanated from that village, there has never been an apology on behalf of the village. But now Buxton is being told that answers will be provided for Buxton. It is not only Buxton that needs answers; the entire country needs answers to the terrible killings that took place during the crime wave that rocked the country.
The call for an inquiry into what took place is welcome. But why choose Buxton, the epicenter of that crime wave, to announce that answers will be provided. That message can be misinterpreted as meaning that only Buxton deserves answers, something that those making known their plans surely did not intend. In fact it was specifically mentioned that the inquiry would be into the violence that took place in Buxton and other areas.
These plans for an inquiry need to be supported, including by the people of Buxton, for as mentioned before, that community was also a victim of the violence that was unleashed from within it by criminals who found safe haven.
There were reports of young girls in the village being molested, young persons from the village were victims of the violence and in one case the home of an elderly pensioner was burnt to the ground. Buxtonians therefore deserve some answers about what happened including the actions of the so-called phantom.
But let it not be forgotten that the so-called phantoms was a reaction to the violence that was emanating from elements who had held that community under siege. While most of the villagers were helpless bystanders during that period when the permission had to be given for outsiders to enter the “Gulf”, the gunmen could not have existed for so long and enjoyed the cover that they did without the support of elements within that village.
It is therefore a welcome development that the opposition is committing to ensuring answers to what took place because the answers will not only be about the terrible actions of the so-called phantoms but also about those who aided and abetted the criminals and who are therefore just as guilty as the persons they were assisting.
Hopefully, if the opposition wins the elections and this inquiry is held, answers will be provided as to the deaths of persons both within and outside of Buxton, including Christine Sukrah, Tshaka Blair, “Sweetie Man” and Brian Hamilton who operated a gas station within the Friendship area.
Answers will have to be provided as to who went into the village to conduct political indoctrination classes for the criminals, who provided the gunmen with food and the identities of all the child soldiers who were involved.
The names of all those behind the phantoms will also be made known just as the names of those women who placed their bodies and that of their children between the advancing security ranks and the escaping criminals.
All those who provided support in whatever form to the criminals hiding out in Buxton, all those who visited them, all those who allowed their girl children to consort with them, all will have to answer for what took place because the people of the village but more so those outside of the village suffered as never during the crime wave.
At the end of this process it is hoped that there can be reconciliation between the village and the wider society but this can only happen if there is justice.
The first step in the process of justice is to find the answers to what took place and for Guyana to learn from this terrible period in our country’s history which ought never to be repeated.
The promise by the opposition parties for an investigation is therefore welcome, but let there be no misunderstanding, there can be no inquiry simply into the unjust acts against the village, and there were many.
There must equally be an inquiry that will expose what support was given to the gunmen, who gave that support and who were the intellectual authors behind the crime wave.
It must also cover the Lusignan, Bartica, Lindo Creek and Agricola massacres, for the people also need to know who were behind these acts.
The people need to know who were directing the phantoms but also who was Fine Man working for.
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