A serving member of the Guyana Police Force has faced various hardships after trying to get to the bottom of the fatal shooting of her son by police last October at Dundee, Mahaicony.
Rhonda Hawker was transferred from the station where she was assigned in Berbice and subsequently denied her salary for two months.
Sources have told Stabroek News of the hardships that the woman is experiencing as a result of what is believed to be attempts to stop her from inquiring into the circumstances surrounding the death of her son, Delon Hawker, which has been clouded by uncertainty.
Based on the information provided to this newspaper, the woman, who is a mother of six including three minors, was transferred from the Albion Police Station to the New Amsterdam Police Station. The transfer took place just days after she buried her son. As a result, the woman has been facing increased transportation costs and sometimes is forced to overnight at New Amsterdam when it is difficult to access transportation at nights.
This newspaper was also told that the woman was denied her salary for two months until December last year, without explanation.
According to the official police statement on the fatal shooting of Delon Hawker, 28, he and another person had allegedly broken into a house belonging to Veerapen Jebode and his wife, Gangawatti, at Good Faith, Mahaicony on October 18 and escaped with over $1 million in jewellery, cash and other articles.
Gangawatti and her neighbour later boarded a bus with the bandits and when they later saw a police vehicle approaching they shouted for the driver to stop. According to witnesses, when the vehicle stopped, the men jumped out and started to run and the police opened fire on them and one collapsed and died while the other escaped.
Police had said that in addition to the recovery of a snub-nose revolver and a pistol at the scene, a bag containing a pair of binoculars, a cell phone and a cap were also found.
Police had arrested a man who they suspected was the alleged accomplice. Based on the information received by this newspaper, that person has been released.
Hawker’s family, however, disputed the police’s version and pointed out that there were many inconsistencies.
Commissioner of Police Leroy Brumell had in November last year assured one of Hawker’s relatives that an investigation would be launched.
The police officials that this newspaper spoke with said that as in the case of all unnatural deaths, the police would have had to launch an investigation. However, no one could say what became of the Hawker investigation.
According to a source close to the case, the commissioner, during a meeting with the dead man’s uncle, Newton Hazel, had promised that there would be no cover up and that the matter would be investigated. The source said that up to now, relatives have heard nothing about the case and no contact was made with them although Brumell took their number. The source said that the commissioner failed to deliver on his promise and that with all that has happened, the man’s relatives are afraid to go to the police to ask what is happening with the investigation.
The source insisted that there is more to Hawker’s death.
Relatives had said that Hawker had left his Alness, Corentyne home to travel to Georgetown to secure an identification card since he wanted to get a driver’s licence. They said based on what they were told, the bus he was in was heading in the direction of the city, which would have been consistent with his leaving home and travelling to the city.
The driver of the minibus is probably the best person to fit in the missing pieces of the puzzle. It is unclear if the police ever made contact with the driver but Hawker’s family had begged him to come forward to provide answers to their questions.
Police had said that the gun they found in Hawker’s possession was used in a robbery that was committed earlier in the day at West Berbice. However sources close to the family questioned this.
Among the inconsistencies raised by his family is the fact that Hawker was shot in the region of his heart and not his back; that none of the policemen who were reportedly pursuing him was injured although it was claimed that he shot at them; and that he was shot on the public road and not in the backlands as police had reported.