The relatives of 21-year old Clive Johnson were convinced that they had closed the final chapter on his life when they buried him in March earlier this year.
They had resigned themselves to the fact that he had drowned at Omai, Region Seven, as was reported by his co-workers.
Even though a post mortem examination pointed to blunt trauma to the head as one of the factors that caused his death, relatives were prepared to put that behind them and move on with their lives.
But that was not to be, as lately they have been receiving reports that there was more to Johnson’s death than was reported and they now want answers.
Eight months ago Johnson’s body was discovered floating in the area’s murky waters of the Essequibo River, two days after he reportedly fell from a Brazilian-style river dredge.
Johnson of 19 Ramp Road, River View, Ruimveldt had left his home a month earlier to go into the interior to work with a man named “Peter”.
The day before he died, he had telephoned his mother to tell her that he was coming home the following day.
But hours after that telephone call, his relatives were informed of his demise by a shopkeeper who knew the family.
Shortly after he disappeared, Johnson’s mother, Janice Evans, had told this newspaper that she was informed that her son had climbed onto a ‘Dragga’ to reach for something when his foot slipped and he fell into the water.
She was further informed that another miner plunged into the rough waters to rescue Johnson, but his efforts were futile.
But eight months later, relatives are hearing that there might have been some foul play involved in the young man’s death, especially since they have lost contact with his former employers.
Johnson had initially planned to cut a three-month stint in the interior; so relatives were surprised when he called to say that he was coming out after one month.
They were suspicious that something had gone wrong. According to a relative, Johnson complained of being stressed out and wanted a break from the interior.
“I ask he why he coming out so quick and he say, ‘man, up hey is bare stress, man’ and he just cut off.”
The relative who asked not to be named because she has concerns for her safety, given the people who Johnson was working with, said that the first information his mother received was that workers were welding something on the ‘Dragga’ when it fell and Johnson in an attempt to retrieve it, fell overboard.
Then there was another report which stated that Johnson was on the “Dragga” when he got up for a cup of water and slid, causing him to fall into the river. The young man could not swim.
The two version of events raised eyebrows but relatives were too distressed to make pointed queries.
The relative said that when she saw Johnson’s body, his fists were clenched and his nose “mash in”.
“He died with he gold chain on. We de so confused, we didn’t had no suspicion,” the relative stated.
But some suspicions arose after the post mortem examination revealed that apart from drowning, Johnson suffered a blunt trauma to his head.
“I say nah, dis boy get knock in he head. But I didn’t say nothing to nobody because we de just trying to catch we self,” the relative told this newspaper.
The relative recalled that after the funeral, she accompanied Johnson’s mother to Linden where detectives were taking statements from persons who were at the scene when Johnson fell overboard.
There they observed what they described as “strange occurrences”.
“One detective de pressuring one of de workers and de getting something out ah he, but den dey pull he away and me ain’t know what happen after dat,” the relative said.
“We start to hear all sorts of things. People start saying dis and saying dat. People tellin we how dey kill he. We hear about four different stories. Is now we hearing dat he try fuh get back some slippers that fall overboard and dis hurting we head more,” the relative added.
She said that Johnson’s mother had raised concerns over the different versions with the dead miner’s employer but they got nowhere.
“He tell she don’t bother with people, dey just trying fuh cause problems and confuse de family,”
The relatives said that she believes that the police should re-open the investigations and question all the persons who witnessed the incident, individually.
“I know something wrong. I just want to know de truth, because this thing just got me puzzle. Why nobody ain’t try fuh save he when he fall? Dey had divers deh and dem ain’t find he body far from where he fall. I does get terrible dreams,” the relative told this newspaper.
But the relatives’ wish might not be fulfilled since according to a senior police detective, the investigations were carried out in a professional manner and nothing suspicious was unearthed.
“As far as the police are concerned, we did everything in a professional manner to the best of our ability. I don’t see what else is there to change the outcome of our investigation,” the senior official said.
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