Witness says two accused were present during Bartica killings

Dwane Williams, called ‘Small Fren,’ yesterday further implicated murder accused Dennis Williams and Mark Royden Williams, as being part of the infamous Rondell “Fine Man” Rawlins gang, which he said was responsible for the February, 2008 Bartica massacre.

Dwane Williams was at the time testifying at the trial of Dennis Williams, called “Anaconda,” and Mark Royden, called “Smallie,” who together with Roger Simon, called “Goat Man,” are accused of the 2008 massacre of 12 men, including three police officers at Bartica.

While maintaining that he was giving his testimony of his own free will, he also said he witnessed five of the 12 men being executed.

The charge against the trio is that on February 17, 2008, they murdered Lance Corporal Zaheer Zakir, and Constables Shane Fredericks and Ron Osborne, as well as Edwin Gilkes, Dexter Adrian, Irving Ferreira, Deonarine Singh, Ronald Gomes, Ashraf Khan, Abdool Yasseen, Errol Thomas, and Baldeo Singh.

Dwane Williams, who is one of the prosecution’s main witnesses, is the second person to have testified that Dennis and Mark Royden were a part of the gang and present when the killings at Bartica were executed.

Clebert Reece, called “Chi Chi,” the state’s star witness, had also linked the two Williams to the gang and the attack launched on the Bartica community. Reece, 39, who was last November sentenced to 35 years in jail after pleading guilty to 12 counts of the lesser offence of manslaughter, had testified about being recruited as the driver of the boat, which took the gang to various locations, including Bartica, where it launched a murderous attack on the night of February 17, 2008.

Dwane Williams  is a former co-accused in the January 26, 2008 Lusignan massacre, in which 11 persons, including five children were killed. However, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had withdrawn the charges against him.

The young man, who was also arrested in connection with the Bartica massacre but was never charged, told the court that he was 15-years-old when he was recruited by “Fine Man,” whom he knew from growing up in Buxton.

‘A wuk for us to go on’

Dwane Williams said that in February 2008, “Fine Man” informed him and a couple other members of the gang that he had “a wuk for us to go on,” which would later be the attack at Bartica, in which the young Williams said he knew that persons would have been injured.

The witness said that he and gang leader “Fine Man,” together with “Papa Willie,” “John I,” “Mud Up,” “Chung Boy,” “Smallie,” and “Capone,” whom he identified as being members of the gang, went into the Buxton backlands after being told of the “wuk,” they were to go on.

Michael Caesar, who is also known as “Capone,” was also a former accused in both the Bartica and Lusignan massacres but he pleaded guilty to lesser counts of manslaughter for unlawfully killing a total of 20 persons between the two massacres.

Dwane said that after being in the backlands where they camped out for about two weeks, there was a shootout. Thereafter, he said that they left one night and went to the seawall at Nabaclis, East Coast Demerara, where they joined a boat.

He said “Chi Chi,” who was driving the boat, was in Dennis’ company.

Responding to questions from Prosecutor Diana Kaulesar, Dwane said that the night they entered the boat, they were all dressed in dark and camouflage clothing, and carrying arms and ammunition.

He said he was carrying a haversack containing 300 AK-47 rounds, clothing, and food stuff. He said that among the group, some men also carried magazines for AK-47s as well as other calibre weapons.

He said that they journeyed from Nabaclis all that night until they reached an island the next day. They then went into the bushes, where they camped out for a while before later that day moving to another nearby camp.

He said the next night, they journeyed to Bartica and while he, “Mud Up,” “Chung Boy,” and “Chi Chi” were ordered by “Fine Man” to remain at the stelling, the gang leader and the others went into the town.

He said that at the stelling they met another member of the gang, whom he named as “White Boy,” who also went into the town with the others.

About eight minutes after the men left, Dwane said he started hearing “rapid gunshots,” and shortly after that, “Fine Man” returned to the stelling with guns, which he ordered him to put into the boat.

Executions

He said that “Fine Man,” who was also known as “Saddest,” again left the stelling. During that time, the witness said that a boat with six men anchored alongside the stelling, and so he alerted “Chung Boy,” who took them off the vessel, and placed them to lie face down on the stelling.

He said that just then, he saw a police vehicle drive up and from it, exited “Fine Man,” and other gang members, who returned with more guns and two canisters.

The witness said that “Fine Man” told one of the the six men who were placed to lie down on the ground to run, after which the man did.

Reece had previously testified of having told the gang leader that he knew the man, who was given an opportunity to escape.

Dwane said that as for the remaining five men, “Fine Man,” stood over them; and shot each, one-by-one, at the back of their heads.

The court was told that the gang then left Bartica and went deeper up the river to place where they finally exited on land, and met a man, who came out of the bushes and spoke with “Fine Man.”

Dwane said that they abandoned the boat on the water top, and loaded the guns, canisters, and other items they were carrying, into a dark-coloured open back jeep, which was driven by the man who had spoken to “Fine Man.”

He said that from that location, they journeyed to Linden, where they met a “Rasta Man,” by the name of Shem, who took them to a camp, where they stayed for a while.

He noted that they broke open the canisters and found gold, diamonds and other items, Dwane said that one also contained $1M.

He told the court that “Fine Man” gave that money to Shem to buy food stuff and ganja for the gang. He said they camped out there for quite a few months, before again moving—this time to Ituni where they spent three months, during which time “Fine Man” and “Smallie” “had a story,” after which the latter left and travelled to Georgetown.

Dwane told the court, that about four days after, the camp was ambushed by police and soldiers. It was at that point that he said “Mud Up” was shot and killed, while he, “Fine Man,” “Papa Willie” and “Chung Boy” escaped through the backlands.

The witness then detailed being on the trail for about 20 days after that, during which time they ran into a camp at Kwakwani Falls where they saw some men. Dwane said that “Fine Man” had a discussion with them (the gang members), after which they spent one night there.

Dwane said that the next day, after leaving the camp and going out on the road, he was captured by police. When asked where he currently lives, Dwane told the prosecutor, that he is in police custody.

Not free

Under cross-examination by Mark Royden’s attorney, Roger Yearwood, Dwane said that he had become separated from the group at the time he was captured by the police.

He said that at that time, he was carrying an AK-47 with ammunition. Asked if he knew how to operate the weapon, the young man said, “very well,” while noting that “Fine Man,” had taught him to use it.

He said that he and “Fine Man” were friends and that at one point he also lived with him.

Yearwood asked the witness if he knew of Ituni before the Bartica attack, to which he responded in the affirmative. He went on to say that he knew also of Christmas Falls, and that “I was present at Lindo Creek with “Fine Man.”

Asked if he knew that persons had been killed at Lusignan, Bartica and Christmas Falls, Dwane said yes. Asked about how many altogether from the three locations, he said about 36.

Yearwood suggested to the witness that the only reason he had given a statement to the police implicating his client is because Superintendent Trevor Reid told him that he would not be charged.

Dwane, however, firmly maintained that this was not the case.

The witness also firmly advanced that as opposed to Yearwood’s suggestion, he was not saying that Mark Royden was at Bartica because of being made promises of freedom by the police.

He emphasised that no promises were made to him and that he was telling his story of his own free will and that his decision to speak had nothing to do with any promise of freedom.

Yearwood then rhetorically interjected, “but you are now free though?” To this the witness responded that even “now, I’m not free.” According to him, after leaving the court he would have been headed back to a “dark hole with four walls.”

Prison poisoning

Meanwhile, Reece’s testimony ended yesterday after he was cross-examined by Dennis’ and Simon’s attorneys, Saphier Hussain and Peter Hugh, respectively.

Hussain suggested to Reece that he was trying to implicate his client in the events at Bartica because he wanted to see him in prison.

The witness, however, said that this was not the case, while adding that he was telling his story since he felt that it was the right thing to do and the he was telling the truth when he said that Dennis was at Bartica during the attack.

Asked if he has any problems with Dennis and if he hates him, Reece told Hussain no.

Counsel then asked him if his client tried to poison him while in prison, the witness said that he did not try, but rather that Dennis did actually poison him.

Hussain then asked if even after the alleged poisoning he did not have a hatred for Dennis, to which Reece maintained he does not.

For his part, defence attorney Peter Hugh asked Reece if he would agree with him that his client was not with the group that went to Bartica. “He was never there,” the witness responded.

The trial continues this morning at 9, before Justice Roxane George SC, at the High Court in Georgetown, where Dwane Williams will continue to be cross-examined.

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