– some DNA results received from Jamaica –Crime Chief
It’s now close to four years since the massacre of eight miners at Lindo Creek, Berbice River and while there appears to be no end in sight to the probe, the investigation into the matter has already cost the administration more than $40M so far.
This newspaper was reliably informed that the government is paying Lyken Funeral Home up to $750,000 per month to store the remains of the miners which were recovered at their camp site.
This amounts to a whopping $32.2M, so far since the remains were collected by investigators in June 2008.
When additional expenses are factored in, the figure will certainly be astronomical.
Months after the massacre, samples of the remains were sent to Jamaica for testing, reportedly in an effort to differentiate the bones collected.
Crime Chief Seelall Persaud on Friday told this newspaper that the police force had received some results from the analysis being done by the Jamaicans.
He disclosed that the analysis was brought to Guyana by the team of investigators who were recently invited to assist in the probe of rape allegations made against Police Commissioner Henry Greene.
“The team brought an analysis of some of the things that are concluded; we are waiting on the rest.”
On June 21, 2008, owner of the Lindo Creek camp, Leonard Arokium, discovered the burnt bones and skulls of his workers, including his son, at the location.
Those who were killed at the site were Dax Arokium, Cedric Arokium, Compton Speirs, Horace Drakes, Clifton Wong, Lancelot Lee, Bonny Harry and Nigel Torres.
He had reportedly received information that the men were killed the previous week.
According to Arokium, he received a phone call from a woman who told him that some “soldiers” had shot and killed his men and burnt their bodies.
The Joint Services denied the claims made by the dredge owner that soldiers committed the brutal crime.
Police had blamed the attack on Rondell ‘Fineman’ Rawlins and his gang whom they said they had encountered during a confrontation at Christmas Falls on June 6, 2008, a few weeks prior to the gruesome discovery.
Fine man Rawlins and members of his gang were subsequently hunted down and killed, and the security forces had suggested that the Lindo Creek case had died with them.
Leonard Arokium, in an invited comment confirmed, that the authorities had closed the matter with the death of Rawlins and his gang members.
“The last time I spoke with the police, (Commissioner) Greene had said that it was Fine Man who killed my workers. As far as he was concerned the case was closed, since he indicated that all the evidence pointed to Fine Man,” Arokium told this newspaper yesterday.
In June 2009 Chief-of-staff Gary Best categorically denied that the military had anything to do with the murder of the miners.
“I can tell you without any fear of contradiction, that the Joint Services had absolutely nothing to do with Lindo Creek, and I speak positively on the matter,” Best had said.
However, in the public domain, speculations remain rife that ranks of the Joint Services have more knowledge about the unfolding at the now deserted location than they are letting up.
In his bid to lay the Lindo Creek issue to rest, in the face of continued speculations, Commodore Best had based his conclusion on “the nature of the engagement, the type of persons who were there, the history of the defence force and the pure humanness of the persons who were involved in the operation at Christmas Falls.”
He said neither the Defence Force nor the Joint Services has any history “of killing people.”
Leonard Arokium, like other relatives of the murdered miners was surprised that the administration is still spending millions on something that was supposed to be a closed case.
According to Crime Chief Persaud, after receiving the remaining results of the analysis from Jamaica, the Criminal Investigations Department will prepare a file on the matter which will be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions for advice.
Relatives had hoped that by now they would have received the remains of their loved ones so that they could have given them a decent burial.
“There is nothing much I can do. Who am I going to go to? The good Lord knows,” Arokium stated, resignedly.
A year ago in an exclusive interview with this newspaper Mrs. Collette Wong said that she was still awaiting information about her husband that could provide closure to the emotional wound her family is carrying.
Mrs. Wong stated that she is aware that everyone has to die but the manner in which her husband met his end is heartbreaking.
The widow revealed that the absence of a proper funeral service and the opportunity to see his body are painful.
Crime Chief Persaud told this newspaper that the administration will at some time have to engage victim’s relatives on the disposal of the remains.
“All we have are bones,” he said.
Although it’s been almost four years, the fact that the matter keeps coming up from time to time is a little cause for worry to Leonard Arokium, although he said that his mind is conditioned to endure such occurrences.
“Look what it has cost me. You know who I feel for? It is Dax (my son) and that little boy from Kwakwani.
When I look back I don’t know how I went into that area and came out back after seeing what I saw,” he explained.
He said that one thing will remain on his mind and that is the way the men must have died.
There are reports that while some of the victims were shot, others were battered to death, since a bloody hammer was retrieved at the scene.
“They must have been begging for their lives. That is the thing that freaks me out. Whenever I think about it, I tell myself that I too am already dead. I can’t understand how you can kill eight men like that,” Arokium stated.
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