Who will guard the bodyguard?
– Gary Sinclair was watching his boss’ back…but no one was watching his…
By Michael Jordan
Even after 17 years, Gary Sinclair’s relatives are still apprehensive about talking about that night when the gunmen came for him; are still imploring me not to raise up a sleeping murder that can’t be solved; are telling me that they dread that the men who ambushed the bodyguard might now feel a need to come for them.
At the time when this story began, 30-year-old Gary Alan Sinclair was living at Springlands, Upper Corentyne, with his reputed wife, Devi Kowlessar.
You could say that he was a kind of jack-of-all trades….writing a few stories for a small newspaper from Berbice and working as a disc-jockey at a bar.
He was also the close friend of a wealthy remigrant. After returning from overseas, the remigrant, along with two other Guyanese, had reportedly invested $250M in a sawmill at Springlands, Corentyne.
But the investment soured. The remigrant, it is alleged, became embroiled with some of his partners over the ownership of the sawmill. Threats were allegedly made, and it is even alleged that a US-based man was murdered. Five men were allegedly charged in connection with that case.
Gary Sinclair found himself in the middle of the feud. A loyal employee, Sinclair reportedly became not just the businessman’s employee, but also his bodyguard.
In late January, 1996, Sinclair reportedly wrote a letter to a close associate.
The letter stated: “Amidst the clutches of danger and fear, Corentyne remigrant and businessman (name of his employer given), who returned from America and invested $250M along with two other Guyanese in a small sawmill complex..has disclosed in an exclusive interview with me that he is presently living under extremely dangerous conditions where the safety of his life is concerned.
“——stated that his entire sawmill company is in dispute and is before the High Court in Georgetown. Since 1992, several attempts had been made on his life but none had involved the services of hired gunmen.
“ The businessman disclosed that on the evening of October 9, 1995, an armed assailant with an automatic weapon made entry into his yard and tried to kill him. The assailant’s weapon malfunctioned and so the attempt failed.
“The informant disclosed that he (Sinclair’s boss) had to hire two armed guards from (name of security service given) from Corriverton and two of his own private security who keep vigil 24 hours.
“A frustrated Mr.——pointed to November 5, 1995, when four gunmen visited his premises and again on November 15 an 17, 1995. The gang…opened fire at the security guards hired by——
“Mr. ——described the movie-style shootout at his Princeton premises as acts to eliminate him so that his lion’ share of the disputed sawmill would be posthumous and uncontested.
Mr.——reiterated that for some time now he cannot leave his home, since he is afraid that they will assassinate him, as they had done with another contesting shareholder, who died under questionable conditions.
Mr.—is appealing to the Police Commissioner and the Home Affairs Minister to help safeguard his life s he could continue with future investments in Guyana…”
But Sinclair then received word that the men who were trying to kill his boss also wanted him out of the way. The bodyguard took precautions to protect himself; reportedly buying a 9mm pistol in Suriname. On Old Year’s Night in 1995, he reportedly expressed fear for his life.
On the night of Monday, January 15, 1996, residents of Springlands, Corentyne, where Sinclair resided, were startled by the sound of several gunshots.
On eventually venturing outside, they found Sinclair’s bullet-riddled body outside his apartment. He had been shot at least eight times, apparently ambushed as he was entering his home. A shirt was left at the scene.
Rumours surfaced that hit-men, hired from Suriname, had been paid a million guilders to execute Sinclair.
According to reports, boat allegedly owned by a Suriname-based Guyanese who was said to be associated with the suspects, was spotted in the area earlier in the day. It was claimed that the killers and a woman were ferried illegally into Guyana on the morning of Jan 15, 1996.
And residents claimed to have heard someone trying to start a boat engine in the area shortly after the shooting.
Sinclair’s boss described his murdered employee as “my manager, my adviser my friend and brother.”
Two men who had lived in an apartment near to the slain bodyguard were detained briefly but eventually released with any charges.
The bodyguard’s boss is said to have returned to the US. He had also alleged to Kaieteur News that he was in danger of former associates.
Gary Sinclair’s fate reminds one of the old Steel Pulse song.
“Bodyguard I wouldn’t like your job
Snakes in the grass say they know not God
Polytricksters drinking human blood
Concrete heart can hold no love
I just can’t sorry for the bodyguard
Bullet-proof vest strap to your chest
Under your collar is getting hot whoa
Who got a gun
Who got a bomb
Who got a knife
Who’s gonna lose their life…”