Crime Chief Seelall Persaud will soon be seeking advice on the disposal of the remains of the eight miners who were slaughtered at Lindo Creek, four years ago.
Speaking with this newspaper yesterday, the country’s top detective said that although investigations into the matter are still not yet completed, the police are in a position where a decision can be taken with respect to the remains.
He dismissed reports published in another section of the media that gave the impression that the investigations were completed.
“The police have told the owner of the Lindo Creek mining camp, where eight men were massacred in 2008, that the investigation is completed and relatives of the dead are now free to uplift their burnt remains,” the newspaper report stated.
The newspaper had quoted the owner of the Lindo Creek camp, Leonard Arokium, as claiming that he was informed by Deputy Crime Chief Winston Cosbert of the development.
But Persaud told this newspaper that Senior Superintendent Cosbert might have been misinterpreted.
The Crime Chief said that the Force is still awaiting the return of samples of the remains that were sent to Jamaica for DNA testing and suggested that until they return, the investigation still remains open.
But he did indicate that the mining camp owner was advised that he could make arrangement to uplift the remains of his son Dax Arokium, brother, Cedric Arokium and workers Compton Speirs; Horace Drakes; Clifton Wong; Lancelot Lee; Bonny Harry and Nigel Torres.
“We are at a stage now where we can make a decision on the remains. If within a certain time from now the relatives do not collect them I will be seeking advice on the way forward,” the Crime Chief told this newspaper.
While this was communicated to the owner of the camp where the men died, it is not too clear if relatives of the victims were contacted by the police.
The Crime Chief said that the police had contemplated handing over the remains to relatives several months ago, but delayed doing so after assurances were given by a Jamaican law enforcement team that was in Guyana at the time.
“We held it back since January because of the promise we had from the Jamaicans,” Deputy Commissioner Persaud explained.
The Jamaicans had promised to return the remaining samples to Guyana by January month end last.
Local investigators are still waiting.
The disposal of the remains will certainly save the government millions of dollars.
It has already cost the administration more than $33M, a cost defended by Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee.
“The integrity of these remains is important for any further analysis and if it cost a million dollars a day to ensure proper storage we have to do it,” the Minister had declared.
Rohee added that his Government and the police would have come under more scrutiny if they had failed to properly store the remains.
“If we were not doing that (storing the remains at a parlour) and these remains were left stored in a box where rats and cockroaches were interfering with them we would have been worse off and we would have been accused of being delinquent,” Rohee added.
“This is the price we have to pay if we want serious results.”
It’s now four years and a month and the controversy still remains over who actually killed the miners.
For one, the eyewitness whom the police had claimed was in their custody for safekeeping remains a mysterious character.
Many had doubted that such a person existed with one source claiming that “it was a convenient boasting, since I don’t believe that that person existed.”
A few weeks ago the Crime Chief confirmed that the person who was deemed an eyewitness is still in protective custody.
But just what do the authorities hope to achieve by keeping the “eyewitness” in custody so long?
According to the Crime Chief there is a way forward in the case since investigators have been building capacity over the years.
“He’s in protective custody. We’re still awaiting the analysis of the DNA. When we get that then the DPP will advise,” the Crime Chief explained.
Of course there is still controversy over who actually killed the miners with the owner of the camp and the security forces coming up with different theories.
Leonard Arokium claimed that he had 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 a few weeks prior to the gruesome discovery.
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.
“It only lends to the mystery and suspicions that occurred from the beginning when the bones were discovered and fingers were pointed,” the official told this newspaper.
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