Cops send samples to forensic lab in Brazil

- Crime Chief confident of speedy results

Forensic samples for a number of cases, including murders and last year’s plane crash at Sparendaam, East Coast Demerara, have been delivered to a lab in Brasilia, Brazil, according to Crime Chief Seelall Persaud, who seems confident that the wait for the results will not be long.

Persaud told Stabroek News that the samples were taken from Guyana last Monday by a police official. Asked which cases the samples were related to, Persaud said that information was not immediately available as he had not spoken to the rank since his return and was still awaiting his report.

He, however, said that there were samples for about 12 cases, including the rape/murder of 90-year-old Millicent Prince-Cummings and the plane crash that claimed the lives of two foreigners—Pierre Angiel, a 71-year-old American pilot and 54-year-old Canadian Engineer Nick Dmitriev—in April last year. In the latter case, the police are looking to confirm the identity of one of the men who was burnt beyond recognition during the crash.

Asked about the timeframe, Persaud told Stabroek News that the testing of the samples started in the presence of the rank, according to what he was told. As a result, he said, “It looks like there is going to be a significant difference from our experience in the Caribbean.”

Persaud had told this newspaper about the new arrangement between the two countries to have the forensic testing done in Brazil. He said that the first request to Brazil for assistance in the area of forensics was made through a liaison officer based in Georgetown and subsequently a formal request was made during a joint annual cooperation meeting.

After the meeting, which was held in Brazil, the discussions went back and forth until the two sides finally reached an agreement to have samples sent to Brazil for forensic analysis. He had noted that this new arrangement will be very beneficial as forensic analysis complements the work of detectives. He noted that it is used all around the world and he had cited cases in the United States solved on forensic analysis alone.

Finding reliable access to forensic analysis has been a challenge for police over the years. Attempts were made with labs in Barbados and Jamaica more than likely to cut costs but these did not turn out too well. Jamaica’s delay in delivering the DNA results for the Lindo Creek miners, was the most noticeable. Jamaica received the samples in 2008 not long after the suspected remains of the men were found. The bodies were badly burnt and were unidentifiable in the state that they were found in. The results were never made available until 2012.

A source told this newspaper recently that while little is known about the Brazilian arrangement or the lab that the samples were being taken to, there is no reason why a similar arrangement with Barbados should cease.

The source noted that it is well known that Brazil is a very developed country with capacity for things such as forensic analysis. However, the source said, “We were going to Barbados and they were doing a good job,” and added that if the idea of seeking help from Brazil is intended to cut cost, it may actually work out to be more expensive.

It was explained that with Brazil, it would take several days to get to the lab in question and by extension money would have to be allotted for meals and accommodation while in the case on Barbados the objective was to complete the mission within a day. According to the source, the lab that was used on the island had good equipment and was reputable and delays like what occurred with Jamaica were never an issue.

It was explained that one has to understand that the more complicated the analysis, the longer it would take for the results to become available. “It is not magic. It takes time…,” the source said, while adding that the aim is always for there to be accuracy.

The source explained further that with the Lindo Creek samples, the testing would have been complex and as such required a lot of time to be analysed. In addition to the complex nature of the samples, the source said, the lab in that country also apparently had their own internal issues that the needed to deal with.

Observers have repeatedly said that forensic analysis should have been one of the priorities for the state-funded forensic lab, located at the University of Guyana’s Turkeyen Campus. It has not been opened as yet although Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee that it would have been opened by the end of last year.

There have been several newspaper notices regarding staffing needs and equipment for the facility.

In June 2011, when the foundation for the $450 million state-of-the-art forensic laboratory was being built, government had given the expected completion date as May 2012.

Security sources had questioned the purpose of the facility if forensic analysis was not going to be done. It was observed that this lab will be nothing different from the police’s crime lab. The security sources had pointed out that since the government was making such a high financial investment in having the lab built, it should have gone all the way and ensure that it was up to par with other labs in the Caribbean.

Latest in Local News

default placeholder

Cases being built against drug kingpins

Outgoing Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy here, Bryan Hunt has urged patience as it relates to indictments of local drug barons saying that cases are being built in the background that can guarantee convictions.

St Paul’s Anglican Church in Aurora

Aurora Village (Part 2)

Things in Aurora Village are much livelier than in Aurora Estate. Women walk in and out of the health centre with babies hanging from their hips; policemen stand outside the police station bracing against a wooden rail as they talk amongst themselves and shouts of chatter from children playing fill the air.

A Cessna 206 – the model of the planes flown out of Eugene F Correia International Airport, at Ogle yesterday

Probe launched into illegal Cessna flights from Ogle

The Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) yesterday launched an investigation into the illegal flights of two aircraft from the Eugene F Correia International Airport, at Ogle, East Coast Demerara.

default placeholder

Broke City Hall seeks gov’t bailout

Debt-ridden City Hall has approached the government for a bailout after undertaking several Golden Jubilee projects it did not budget for.

Trevon Thomas

Youth of Guyanese parentage dies in BVI boat accident

A young man of Guyanese parentage died tragically in Tortola, British Virgin Islands around 10:00 hrs yesterday when the speedboat he was in hit rough waters and capsized.

Two of the better appointed stands at D’Urban Park (Stabroek News file photo/Keno George)

D’Urban Park bleachers to remain

The bleachers at D’Urban Park will not be dismantled as originally intended as government intends to preserve and improve the area and turn it into a facility for public events, President David Granger has said.

default placeholder

Funerals held for Kamarang sisters crushed by tree

Post-mortem examinations were performed yesterday on the two children who were crushed to death on Thursday in Kamarang, Region Seven and they were buried with the village council assisting with funeral expenses.

default placeholder

Plug leakages to prevent state resources from bleeding out

Revenues from ExxonMobil’s oil find here could be at least four times Guyana’s national budget at current market prices, and a top US Embassy official here has urged government to move swiftly to implement measures to ensure transparency and accountability.


About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: