Geography, low population density make tackling interior crime difficult -crime chief

As serious crimes and gun violence targeting miners in particular continue in the interior regions, Crime Chief Seelall Persaud says that it is difficult to tackle the problem because of the geography of the area, the scattered population and inadequate communications.

In spite of this, police continue to conduct stop and search exercises, regularly patrol mining and logging communities and have been working closely with companies to try and bring the situation under control.

During a recent interview with Stabroek News, Persaud said that the terrain was a major challenge as it was not as easy to move around in the interior as on the coastland. In addition, he said, the station districts in the hinterland were large and the police stations situated very far apart.

He said that there were patrols at every station but because of the size of the districts, they wouldn’t be in one place as often as they should be.

In addition to the police stations there is an outpost at Buck Hall, Essequibo and another at Kurupukari, Region Eight.

Persaud told this newspaper that the police had been working closely with the mining and logging companies in this area. There were also rural constables, special constabulary ranks and supernumerary constables who provided security in some of these settlements, and who had certain powers conferred on them by the police.
Residents too, he went on, assisted the police by catching suspects from time to time.

“The geography of the area is a problem and with the little pockets of people, communication is not as quick,” he said.
The Crime Chief noted too that depending on the location of the area where the crime occurred, ranks would be deployed from the nearest police station or from Georgetown.
Commenting on the prevalence of guns in the interior, Persaud said that ranks conducted stop and search exercises and acted on any information they received, but still this situation persisted.
Interior locations along with Dora, Soesdyke/Linden Highway, Linden and Kwakwani make up the E&F Division. While Persaud could not give a figure for the number of murders committed in the interior he said that that eight had been committed in the division so far in comparison with 11 for the same period last year. He added that there had also been five gun robberies for the year in the division.

According to Stabroek News’ record, since the start of the year, four men and a woman have been killed. Three were shot dead; one was repeatedly stabbed while the other was battered with a piece of wood. Only one suspect was caught and this was because of the quick work of residents.

In February, 44-year-old Brazilian Evanero Altantara Tarmo was shot dead during a robbery at his mining camp at Oku Backdam, Cuyuni.
According to reports, three men armed with a handgun, a cutlass and a knife entered the mining camp and held up Tarmo’s wife, Aglenzinia Maria De Jesus. They then demanded gold. During this time, De Jesus was assaulted about the body by the men, who then went to the mining pit, where they confronted Tarmo.

He was assaulted by the men and then shot in his back, after which they took away a quantity of raw gold and escaped. The perpetrators are still at large.
About two weeks later another Brazilian was slain but this time at the hands of a fellow countryman.

Twenty-four-year-old Leander Torres De Lima was shot in the face by Antonio Carlos Pereira during a row over money at Butterfly Backdam, North West District.
Reports are that around 9 am, the two had an argument over money, when the suspect pulled out a handgun and discharged a round.
De Lima who was hit in the face died before he could get any medical attention. His body was later transferred to the city by aircraft.
The suspect who Port Kaituma residents said operated a shop in Butterfly Backdam fled the area, where he had been living for about three years with his Brazilian wife.
Following the shooting a team of police ranks were dispatched to the area but after conducting investigations and failing to locate the suspect they left. Police later issued a wanted bulletin for Pereira who is still on the run.
Then on March 24, Brazilian Francisco De Asis Da Rocho Muniz, 60 was shot dead during an armed robbery at his mining camp located at Black Water Backdam, Cuyuni River.
Da Rocho Muniz, was shot twice after he was relieved of raw gold. He succumbed to his injuries before he could get medical attention.

Investigations have revealed that Da Rocho, who had a batel with a quantity of raw gold, was with four other men working in a mining pit when a man armed with a gun approached and discharged rounds into the air. The armed man then held him at gunpoint and took away the batel with the raw gold and escaped into the bushes.

Subsequently, another armed man approached and discharged rounds at Da Rocho, which hit him in his abdomen and right shoulder. Both perpetrators escaped.
Six days later, Donna Williams was stabbed to death by an unidentified man while she was crossing the Tabatinga Creek in Lethem from Brazil where she lived. According to reports the 27-year-old woman was in the company of her mother and seven-year-old son when the assailant believed to be Brazilian stabbed her in the upper part of her body. Her assailant fled to Brazil on a bicycle. Williams had reportedly ended a relationship recently. Local police have sought the assistance of their counterparts in Brazil but the man has not yet been found.

On May 23, Elson Prince of Sophia, Georgetown was beaten to death at Ikawan Backdam, Cuyuni River on Sunday following an argument with a fellow miner.
Police reported that around 19:30 hours in a mining camp at Ikawan Backdam, Prince was lying in a hammock when he was attacked and lashed about the body with a piece of wood by another man.
It was reported that the victim and the suspect, who was also a miner, had earlier been imbibing during which time there was an argument and Prince allegedly assaulted the suspect.

The suspect, Seaford Overmuller of Wakapoa, Pomeroon who was apprehended by persons in the area, was remanded to prison last Friday after being charged with the capital offence of murder.

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