– but the agony remains
“Every time, I sit to talk or think about this matter the wounds open up, it’s like having it happen all over again. I always have to ask God to comfort me and keep me strong especially during this month…” – Joan Adrian
In the same month that their relatives were brutally slaughtered by ruthless gunmen, family members of the victims of the Bartica massacre were able to proclaim that justice was served.
Lance Corporal Zaheer Zakir, Constable Shane Fredericks and Constable Ron Osborne; Edwin Gilkes, Abdool Yassin Jr, Deonarine Singh, Errol Thomas, Ronald Gomes, Baldeo Singh, Ashraf Khan, Irving Ferreira and Dexter Adrian were among the persons slain at Bartica, following a rampage by a gang of gunmen led by the notorious Rondell ‘Fine Man’ Rawlins.
After murdering the three police officers, the gang is said to have stolen cash, arms, ammunition and a vehicle from the police station. Using the stolen police vehicle, they drove through the streets of Bartica shooting at civilians.
They proceeded to CBR Mining, where they stole arms and ammunition, and removed two safes containing cash and gold. After their one-hour rampage, the gunmen departed Bartica by boat. The incident took place on February 17, 2008.
Last Thursday, two of the three persons on trial for the murders were found guilty and sentenced to death.
Dennis Williams, called ‘Anaconda’ and his cousin, Mark Royden Williams, were sentenced to death for the murders of 12 residents of Bartica.
The men were charged along with Roger Simon, called “Goat Man”, Clebert Reece, and Michael Caesar. Caesar and Reece had pleaded guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter, last year. Caesar was sentenced to 60 years in jail while Reece got 35 years. But Simon was acquitted of the killings on Thursday. He was released on bail but will face other charges in relation to the matter.
It‘s been days since the judgment was handed down and while relatives of the victims are happy to put the court matter behind them, the pain of losing their loved ones still lives on. Such is the reality of 66 year- old, Joan Adrian. Her son, Dexter Adrian was shot to the head by the gunmen who attacked Bartica. He was at the time working as a taxi driver on the Island. Dexter was Mrs. Adrian’s second son.
“Every time, I sit to talk or think about this matter the wounds open up, it’s like having it happen all over again. I always have to ask God to comfort me and keep me strong especially during this month.”
The still aggrieved mother believes that although the court gave a satisfactory judgment, only God can repay the men for their actions.
“To be honest, the verdict brought a little closure to what happen to my son. It was not like he was sick and then died. It was so sudden that he died, that‘s the difficulty. But I forgive them. They got to forgive themselves. I really don’t know how they sleep at nights,” she added.
On the other hand, relatives of murdered boat captain, Abdool Yassin, sang high praises for the State Prosecuting team comprising Attorneys, Diana Kaulesar and Stacy Goodings.
The dead man’s uncle, Fizal said that he and the rest of the Abdool family are absolutely pleased with the manner in which the State handled the case.
The man recalled that the same night his nephew was killed he had been speaking to him over the phone.
“I was actually on a call with my nephew when he said Uncle I hearing gunshots. He said he going and check. He was in Bartica and I live in Georgetown, so I told him to stay on the line. Then I heard gunshots and I knew something was wrong, when the phone went dead.”
The uncle said that he later learnt of the tragedy from the media.
He said that the next day he travelled to Bartica with then Home Affairs Minister, Clement Rohee.
“And early the next morning we arrived at Bartica. I identified the body of my nephew. It was difficult because, my nephew and I had a good relationship, more like father and son.”
He reiterated that the family is relieved that the trial is over and the judgment was passed.
“My nephew’s mother lives overseas. She is pleased with the outcome and we just want to thank the prosecution for their hard work.”
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