Oct 05, 2020 News
…Gruesome murder of Berbice teens
Kaieteur News – Tensions are rising again over the murder of cousins, Joel, 19, and Isaiah Henry, 16, after villagers yesterday burned tyres and blocked roads with debris at Number Five and Number Three villages, West Coast Berbice (WCB), demanding justice.
The teenagers’ bodies were discovered, on September 6, butchered and dumped in clumps of bushes next to a coconut estate at Cotton Tree Backdam. Their deaths had gained nationwide attention and had sparked intense protest actions marred with violence. These protests had lasted for days and had affected businesses and left numerous commuters stranded-some for hours and others for days.
Almost one month after the teens’ deaths, protest scenes surfaced again in West Coast Berbice. This time, according to police, the protestors voiced concerns over the seeming delay in the ongoing investigations. In live videos seen by this newspaper, burning tyres were seen across the bridge with a small passageway for vehicles to pass. A protester was seen attacking a motorcyclist as he passed by. He kicked at the man’s motorcycle as it was passing the blockage. Within minutes, the bridge was completely blocked off with other debris such as old gas stoves and other scraps of metal.
In its press statement, the Guyana Police Force stated that a police patrol vehicle arrived shortly after to calm things down but had to request backup in order to contain the situation. With the arrival of additional ranks, they started to clear the bridge and were successful in having all debris removed at around 13:15hrs.
Despite their success, ranks were immediately forced to respond to a similar situation at Number Three Village.
Based on the videos that were posted on Facebook, angry protestors were seen in verbal confrontation with police ranks. As the ranks attempted to clear the road for commuters to pass, some were seen kicking and replacing the burning debris across the road. Others threatened to block the road with logs as they told police that they are taking too long with the investigations into Joel and Henry’s murder.
“No justice; no peace,” they clamoured as they accused the officers of not doing enough to bring the killers to justice. They justified their actions by saying that if they do not protest, police will continue at a sloths pace or perhaps forget totally of the investigations.
Some relatives of the Henry boys including the sister and Isaiah’s mother said in an interview with a journalist attached to online media house, Village Voice Guyana, that they too are becoming frustrated.
“Is one month aready and dem ain’t get no body” she said. “How you expect us to feel especially when the police ain’t telling us anything?” the woman questioned. “If we don’t get justice, we will take it ourselves.”
During the original protests, many persons were even robbed, some beaten while others had their vehicles destroyed. After public outcries for peace by relatives of the dead boys and political leaders from both the government and the opposition A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC), normalcy was restored. The Guyana Police Force (GPF) had promised that the perpetrators of the heinous crime will be brought to justice and launched a thorough investigation, not only into the Henry boys’ murder but that of Haresh Singh, 17, as well. Singh was identified as the grandson of one of the suspects, a rice farmer who was held for the Henry boys’ killing. Amidst the intense protest actions, Singh’s relatives had found him lying unconscious and bleeding in the Number Three Village backdam with his burnt motorcycle close by.
President Irfaan Ali has solicited foreign help and a five member team drawn from the Regional Security System (RSS) and CARICOM IMPACS arrived in the country to assist GPF. Recently, GPF also informed the nation that engagements are currently being made with the Argentine Team of Forensic Anthropology (Equipo Argentino de Antropologia Forensica-EAAF) for its assistance with the case.
According to a press statement sent out, yesterday by the Public Relations Office (PRO) of GPF, persons claiming to be relatives of the late Isaiah and Joel Henry along with other residents began blocking the Number Five Village Bridge, at around 10:30hrs. GPF stated that the relatives were reminded by the Major Crimes Unit (MCU) that investigations are ongoing with the assistance of a regional investigative team from RSS and CARICOM IMPACS. The standoff between police and the protestors continued a few hours before the roads were finally cleared and traffic restored to normal at around 17:45hrs, yesterday.
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