Though still without a working forensic laboratory and still depending on overseas help for DNA evidence, the Guyana Police Force has succeeded in solving some 70 percent of recent murder cases.
That’s a rate of solved cases that may be unprecedented in the Force’s history. The figure is also believed to be the highest among Caricom territories.
Though some were straight-forward cases, the murders solved include execution-style and ‘murder-for hire killings’, as well as cases that go back some seven years. One sordid murder involving the recent murder of a prominent re-migrant was cracked within hours.
It must be noted that ‘solved’ means that individuals have been charged. Most of the cases are still in the preliminary stages in the courts.
One of the challenging cases, with many twists and turns, is the murder of 46-year-old businesswoman Sirmattie Ramnaress, also known as ‘Pavita.’ The businesswoman was found dead in the garage of her 21st Avenue, Diamond Housing Scheme residence on Saturday, August 31, 2013.
A postmortem revealed that the 46-year-old businesswoman was struck repeatedly to the head and body, and attempts had been made to strangle her. A bond at the back of her property was also torched.
It took the police close to two years to make a breakthrough.
In November, 2015, detectives arrested and charged the slain woman’s neighbour, 32-year-old Colin Grant, with her murder. Some of the slain woman’s belongings were recovered.
The case took another turn last February, when police arrested Ramnaress’ estranged reputed husband, ex-Sergeant Colin Bailey. He was charged with murder a few days later.
It was during the early hours of December 21, 2014, that a huge fire consumed an old, three-storey structure located at Robb and King Streets. Theresa Rozario, 15, and her 12-year-old sister, Feresa Rozario, were in the top flat. They were burnt alive. Their father, 63-year-old Hilrod Thomas, managed to jump through a window, but succumbed from burns a few days later.
Last February, some two years later, detectives detained and jointly charged Ganga Kishna, 72, a businessman of Lot 11 North Road, Bourda, and his employee, Avishkar Kissoon, 24 for the murders of Thomas and his two daughters, in the course or furtherance of arson at a dwelling house.
Detectives, led mainly by the Force’s Major Crimes Unit, also recently solved at least three other ‘cold’ cases in recent weeks. The victims were a Parika businessman, a mother and her two sons and an east Coast Demerara gold miner.
A daughter and the hitman she allegedly hired to kill her elderly father eight years ago appeared at the Leonora’s Magistrate’s Court yesterday, charged with murder.
On February, 2008, popular businessman Habiboodeen, 76, was brutally beaten in his Ruby, East Bank Essequibo home. He succumbed shortly after.
Police subsequently charged the businessman’s daughter, Bibi Nazeela Habiboodeen, and an employer for Habiboodeen’s murder. The matter was subsequently discharged due to sufficient evidence.
But a few weeks ago, detectives re-arrested Bibi Nazeela Habiboodeen and Linden Lewis, 29, of Vergenoegen East Bank Essequibo, in connection with the case. Police alleged that Lewis was hired to kill the elderly businessman. They were both charged for Mr. Habiboodeen’s murder. Lewis’s uncle, Michael London, was later charged for the same crime.
It appears that a stroke of good fortune played a part in the recent closing of one brutal triple murder.
That murder happened four years ago.
On September 21, 2012, 41-year-old businesswoman Jennifer Persaud and her sons, Afridi Bacchus, aged six and 18-month-old Jadon Persaud, were butchered in their Anna Catherina, East Coast Demerara home.
For close to four years, the identity of the killer of the Anna Catherina, West Coast Demerara family remained unknown.
That allegedly changed two months ago, when detectives detained 31-year-old Abishai Caesar, a former neighbor of the victims.
Caesar, a barber, of Tuschen, East Bank Essequibo, was charged with three counts of murder.
Police investigations also widened to include that Caesar a father of one in 2012 engaged in the sexual penetration of a girl under 15 years old. He was also charged with assault causing actual bodily harm committed against his reputed wife on April 22nd at Anna Catherina. It was also alleged that on the same day, he threatened to kill the woman and stripped her naked and beat her.
Just last month, too, investigators arrested and charged Cleavaughn Hamilton, a gold miner, with the murder of his reputed wife, 25-year-old Simone Hackett. Ranachal Singh, 31, of Lot 7 Good Hope, Mahaicony, East Coast Demerara, was also charged a few days later.
Hackett’s body, with stab wounds, was found in a trench at Cummings Lodge, East Coast Demerara on April 19, 2016.
According to reports the mother of one, who was supposed to play the role of maid of honour for her sister’s wedding went missing one day before the ceremony.
Last Friday, in less than 24 hours, police cracked the sensational murder of 75-year-old retired professor, Pairadeau Mars, at his Lot 395 Bissessar Street, Prashad Nagar home.
They have detained six teens, including two girls aged 15 and 17, who have allegedly confessed to their involvement in the crime.
Police officials have attributed their recent successes to the establishment of the Major Crimes Unit, training and more willingness of citizens to assist the police.
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