The statistics may not be as alarming as those during the crime wave, but the execution-style killing of four persons within the past three months does raise a disturbing question:
Have the killing squads returned?
During the first three months of the year, there was only one such killing out of the 34 murders that had occurred. It had appeared that “crimes of passion” were on the rise while contract killings were on the decline.
But then there were three more executions; one in April and two more in the space of eight days.
In April, 31-year-old contractor Carlos Persaud, called ‘Jason’, left his Friendship. East Bank Demerara home. When he failed to return, relatives put out a missing persons report.
The following day, a vagrant stumbled on Persaud’s bullet-riddled body in Le Repentir Cemetery.
Police recovered his blue Toyota 212 in “C” Field Sophia.
Robbery did not appear to be the motive and his killers are still to be identified.
Persaud was said to have been the owner of a number of trucks which are contracted to the Guyana Power and Light Inc and ECI, an electrical contracting company also from Friendship.
On April 7, last, Brian Chung, said to be a small-time drug trafficker, was outside his Da Silva Street, Newtown flat when two men pulled up on a CG motorcycle outside the residence. They then entered the yard and shot Chung dead before escaping.
According to one source, Chung and other associates had “a problem”, which led to seven persons being arrested. Kaieteur News was told that a relative of one of the men vowed that Chung would be taught a lesson.
In November 2010, Chung was at the centre of an incident in which three cops from the Tactical Services Unit were implicated.
It was alleged that on November 12, 2010, the policemen carried out a search at Chung’s home and found 303 grammes of marijuana at the residence.
According to court documents, the policemen seized the marijuana and demanded $75,000 from Chung so that he would avoid prosecution. It was alleged in court that after the policemen left, Chung reported the matter and a sting operation was set up, in which the serial numbers on the notes in the $75,000 were recorded before being handed over to the police ranks.
It is alleged that the three policemen were intercepted later the same day by senior officers. A bag containing marijuana leaves, seeds and stems were reportedly found under one of the seats of the vehicle that the policemen were using.
The marked bills were allegedly found on the back seat.
The charges against the accused ranks were dropped following his death. To date, no one has been charged.
And two Sundays ago, former light-welterweight boxer, Linden ‘Buckman’ Mortley, was shot dead on a bridge connecting Festival City to Lamaha Springs.
One report suggested that Mortley was abducted shortly after receiving a telephone call. Kaieteur news had received reports that Mortley was abducted by a group of men who used two cars. He was reportedly seen sitting in one of the vehicles near the Festival City bridge. Shortly after, gunshots were heard and Mortley was found lying on the bridge with a bullet wound below the right ear.
While the ex-boxer’s relatives insist that he was no criminal, they confirmed that he was recently charged for possession of a grenade and a firearm.
Crime Chief Seelall Persaud had also told journalists that the ex-boxer was suspected to have had ties to organised crime, including narcotics and firearm trafficking. The police had reportedly been aware of this for over ten years. Some sources also said that Mortley was a known ‘trunker’.
Then, at around 02:00 hrs on Saturday, a gunman walked into businessman Mark Kandhai’s Industry, East Coast Demerara grocery store and shot him dead.
Commander of ‘C’ Division Gavin Primo disclosed that Kandhai, 32, had had previous brushes with the law and was also suspected of drug trafficking.
Police had recently searched his home.
Kaieteur News understands that Kandhai was also suspected to be involved in the recent theft of some $6M. Police sources said yesterday that he was also a suspected ‘trunker’, who was questioned about the theft of a large sum of cash from a Berbice resident about two years ago.
So does this mean that the ‘killing squads’ are roaming the country once again?
One police official suggested that the ‘squads’ are not as organised as in previous years, and that persons are hiring former members to get at enemies of persons who have stolen from them.
“To me, (some) persons are frustrated at not getting crimes solved, and are taking matters into their own hands,” the official said.
The name of one such individual has been mentioned in connection with Mortley’s execution.
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