The fourth anniversary of the murders of former minister Satyadeow Sawh, his siblings and security guard yesterday brought with it the reminder that the police may never be able to provide answers.
David `Biscuit’ Leander and Jermaine ‘Skinny’ Charles who were charged with the April 22, 2006 killings are dead and it appears that the investigation has met a similar fate. Two suspects—alleged gang leader Rondell ‘Fineman’ Rawlins and prison escapee Troy Dick—were also fatally shot while close to a dozen others who police had implicated have vanished. Despite this, senior police officials insist that the investigation is still open and that the remaining suspects are still being sought.
It is unclear if the police have any idea as to whether these suspects have fled the country and if so, if the assistance of neighbouring countries is being solicited to find them.
In a press statement yesterday, the PPP said that Sawh, who was a member of the party’s Central Committee, was murdered in brutal circumstances. “The killers seem to have as their main objective, the desire to instill terror in our society in the run up to the 2006 elections. However, that act did not bring the results that were expected,” it said.
According to the statement, the anger of the Guyanese people was obvious and it was the maturity of the party in calling for unity that helped to mobilise “our people to reject violence as a political tool.” It added that the anger and sympathy was evident at the funeral as thousands of persons from all walks of life were in attendance.
Sawh was described as one of the party’s favourite leaders and he was greeted and embraced warmly wherever he went. “However his memory will live with us and we will continue to work tirelessly to build our country stronger and make it more beautiful… Today we remember Sash and salute him for his contributions to our struggles,” the statement added.
Around 12:15 am on April 22, 2006, seven masked gunmen dressed in military fatigues invaded the minister’s Earl’s Court, La Bonne Intention, East Coast Demerara home killing him, his brother Rajpat Sawh and his sister Phulmattie Persaud who were visiting from Canada. The minister’s security guard, Curtis Robertson, was also fatally shot during the ordeal.
The minister’s wife and children have returned to Canada where they lived prior to 1992, when Sawh was called home to be part of the PPP/C government. Earlier this year, Sawh’s brother-in-law Bob Persaud told Stabroek News that it was unfortunate that some of those implicated have been killed and insisted that “the way the government handled their investigation was a tragedy and has all the hallmarks of a cover up.”
An infuriated Persaud had also said that he has sought the assistance of the Canadian government to secure access to self-confessed drug lord Roger Khan who he believes has answers. Khan is currently serving a 15 years sentence in a US jail. There has been no positive word from the Canadians thus far.
Questions have been raised about the possibility of Khan’s phantom group being involved in the killings. A forest concession that Khan was on the verge of acquiring in the south of the country was withdrawn while Sawh was the minister with responsibility for forestry.
But both Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee and Police Commissioner Henry Greene have denied this claim. Greene had said that he was convinced that the killings were the work of the ‘Fineman’ gang as the police had evidence to that effect.