“The GPF, together with the legal advisors, has from time to time explored the legislative provision that allows these paid killers or hit-men to enter into a plea bargain arrangement, where in exchange for their testimony against the intellectual authors, they are offered a reduced sentence…” – Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum
By Michael Jordan
The Guyana Police Force appears determined to ensure that the ‘intellectual authors’ of those so-called ‘pay to kill murders’ face the same justice as the hit men they hire.
Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum disclosed last week that the Force, with guidance from its legal advisors, has been encouraging these killers to testify against their bosses.
“‘Pay to kill’ murders involve a different dynamic, and investigators do not only focus on the actual perpetrators, but also on the intellectual authors and the financiers, the Crime Chief told Kaieteur News.
“The detectives are cognizant that the whole objective of those ‘pay to kill murders’, commonly referred to as contract killings, is for the intellectual authors to go undetected.
“The GPF, together with the legal advisors, have from time to time explored the legislative provision that allows these paid killers or hit-men to enter into a plea bargain arrangement, where in exchange for their testimony against the intellectual authors, they are offered a reduced sentence.”
There have been cases in which the alleged ‘hit men’ have received lengthy prison sentences, rather than identify their paymasters.
One such case involved the June 30, 2011 gunning down of 72-year-old Clementine Fiedtkou-Parris in her Lot 42 Robb Street home. It was suggested that the elderly woman was slain over a property dispute she had with a wealthy individual.
During the trial, a caution statement provided by one of the accused outlined there was a plot by someone to murder the elderly woman, who lived adjacent to Trans Pacific Auto Sales on Robb Street.
The caution statement had also outlined that there was suspicion that the plan to execute the elderly woman was hatched by someone attached to the prominent local auto dealership.
In November, 2015, four men were given a combined sentence of 324 years for Mrs. Parris’ murder.
Orwin Hinds, called “Red Man,” Kevin October called, “Troy,” Cleon Hinds, and Roy Jacobs called “Chippie” or “Black Boy,” were each sentenced to serve 81 years in prison.
The alleged ‘intellectual author’ was never charged.
In another case, two men, Lenox Wayne, called ‘Two Colours’, and Elroy Doris were charged with the July 19, 2014 killing of Lusignan cosmetologist Ashmini Harriram, who was gunned down while heading to her home.
However, the individual who allegedly hired the men has not been charged.
A third case, which police suspected was a ‘pay to kill’ murder collapsed. The victim, Bibi Rafeena Saymar, a 23-year-old hairdresser, died from multiple stabs she sustained in her two-bedroom flat at Hague, West Coast Demerara on May 29, 2010.
Police charged her Canada-based husband, Dennis Persaud, and Albouystown resident, Troy Green, for her murder, while alleging that Green was paid to kill Saymar.
However, the case against Persaud was quashed in the Magistrates’ Court, while Green was freed after a High Court trial.
While there appears to be a recent upsurge in ‘paid to kill’ cases, Crime Chief Blanhum does not think this is the case.
“In relation as to whether there is an upsurge in ‘paid to kill murders’, I would say no, because, throughout the years, some of these execution killings have gone unsolved,” he said.
“However, in recent times, the Guyana Police Force, due to enhanced capacity building within CID, has been yielding success in solving a number of these ‘paid to kill murders’, a few of which were also cold cases.”
One infamous case occurred some 29 years ago.
On March 19, 1987, 27-year-old Abdool Kaleem Yassin was shot to death in his Riverstown, Essequibo home.
From all appearances, the young man, who came from a wealthy business family, was the victim of a violent robbery.
But police subsequently implicated his elder brother, 32-year-old Abdool Saleem Yassin, in that murder.
They established that the elder brother had paid one Noel Thomas to kill his younger sibling, to whom their father had bequeathed most of his wealth. Thomas allegedly took a $100 ‘advance’ to do the deed.
Both men were convicted. Abdool Saleem Yassin succumbed to tuberculosis while on death row, which Thomas is still incarcerated.
Some of the recent alleged hired killings that police have solved include the murder of 45-year-old Leelawattie Mohamed, shot dead in early February in her Tain, Corentyne, Berbice home; the slaying of Babita Sarjou, whose remains were dug up from an area behind her estranged husband’s home; the murder of 46-year-old businesswoman Sirmattie Ramnaress, found dead in her Diamond Housing Scheme residence in August 31, 2013; the murders by fire in December 21, 2014, of Theresa Rozario, 15, Feresa Rozario, 12, and Hilrod Thomas, 63; the February, 2008 slaying of businessman Habiboodeen, 76, who was brutally beaten in his Ruby, East Bank Essequibo home, and the April 17, 2012, shooting death of 31-year-old truck driver Jadesh Dass on the Mahaica New Road.
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