It’s almost a month since the human remains believed to be that of missing St. Stanislaus teacher Nyozi Goodman were found at Pattensen, East Coast Demerara and investigators are no closer to making the identity definitive.
Police had collected samples from the remains along with those from the missing teacher’s close relatives which were to be sent overseas for DNA testing.
However, despite the assurances of Crime Chief Leslie James that the results would have been obtained within a month after this process was completed, the samples never left these shores, raising concerns of family members about their integrity.
Perhaps the most worried person is Carol Green, the missing teacher’s mother who told this newspaper yesterday that she is very disappointed with the way the police are treating the matter.
Green is convinced that the remains that were found are that of her daughter, since she positively identified a belt that was recovered at the scene.
The still distraught mother told this newspaper that she spoke to the Crime Chief yesterday and was told that the samples are still in Guyana.
Although the Guyana government recently launched a multi-million dollar state of the art forensic laboratory, the state still does not have capacity to conduct DNA testing, hence all samples have to be sent overseas.
“I spoke to the Crime Chief a day after they took blood samples from her father and I and he said that it will take a month…today is the 18th and the samples are still here. I spoke with the Crime Chief again this morning (Monday) and I asked him why the samples were still here and he said that they have to get somebody to take it overseas. He assured me that the samples are properly preserved,” Carol Green told Kaieteur News.
“I am not concerned about preservation, I am concerned that the samples are still here,” she added.
According to Green, the Crime Chief also assured her that the samples would be sent to an overseas laboratory, most likely neighbouring Brazil sometime this week.
She said what is puzzling is the fact that Mark Benschop, through his foundation, had offered to have the test done but the local authorities blanked the idea saying that it was their responsibility.
“But it’s almost one month now and they are telling me about preservation,” a frustrated Green declared.
She is hoping that her daughter’s case does not end up like that of former Demarara Bank employee Sheema Mangar.
In Mangar’s case, samples that were supposed to be sent overseas for testing had remained in Guyana for several months following a grave misunderstanding among the persons who were responsible.
But while Green is positive that it was her daughter’s remains that were found, she is still being optimistic and is urging the police not to put all their eggs in one basket.
“I asked the Crime Chief if they are still searching (for her body) in case the samples prove otherwise,” she said.
“This morning (Monday) I was so upset that I was crying.” Such was her anger that she stated, “If I go to Georgetown, they will lock me up because I will not behave too nicely.”
Another source of worry for Green is the lack of concern shown by some senior officials of the Ministry of Education, although Goodman was on a school assignment.
“It is not that my daughter went out to a social party and disappeared. She went on school business. She was taking care of students,” the missing teacher’s mother told Kaieteur News.
She said that she received a call from an official from the Ministry’s School Board Department. She was also contacted by an official from the Guyana Teachers’ Union who promised to meet with her but that meeting has not yet materialized.
“Nobody from Region 10 has contacted me, it’s only the media. I am so frustrated. I don’t want them to call me to say they will give a million dollars,” Green lamented.
According to Green, Miss Goodman was scheduled to take up a senior appointment at Queen’s College from the beginning of the coming school year.
“Only last week I learnt that the job was offered. But despite all that is happening, I have not accepted that my daughter is dead,” Green said.
Goodman disappeared on July 6th last, shortly after supervising students at the National Gymnasium, Mandela Avenue, who were participating in the Inter-Secondary School Basketball Championship.
After the game, Ms. Goodman reportedly told her students that she would be staying behind, as she expected someone to pick her up and take her home.
Kaieteur News understands that a taxi driver admitted to taking the teacher to the Gymnasium, but denied that he had picked her up after the game.
Police had questioned the same taxi driver about the disappearance of Police Lance Corporal Patriena Nicholson in August 2009.
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