Less than half of this year’s 17 interior murders solved

There have been 17 murders in the interior regions since the start of the year, according to Stabroek News’ records, and less than half have been solved.

The murders in this section of Guyana—where crime solving has had its challenges—range from shootings to stabbings to persons being set alight. Statistically, knives seem to be the weapon of choice.

Security sources told this newspaper recently that crime solving in the interior would always have its challenges, but because the police lack the personnel and the necessary resources to adequately patrol these areas, it is even more difficult.

Elroy Sealey  called `Bread’
Elroy Sealey
called `Bread’

One source said that in the interior one can commit crimes and easily escape capture because of the dense forest. It is for this reason, the source said, that police often depend on public-spirited citizens to help in the capture of perpetrators. There have been cases where murder suspects were subdued by public-spirited citizens until police arrived.

The source noted too that because many of the areas lack law enforcement personnel, when a crime is committed ranks have to travel long distances sometimes through rough terrain to get to the crime scene.

Several years ago, Crime Chief Seelall Persaud had acknowledged that the force had its challenges in relation to crime fighting in the interior. He had noted that the problems lay in the geography of the area, the scattered population and inadequate communications. But he had said that in spite of the challenges, police continue to conduct stop and search exercises, regular patrols of mining and logging communities and have been working closely with companies to try and bring the situation under control.

However, recently it has been noticed that the work of the police is becoming even more difficult, given the increase in mining activity, which is an easy target for criminal elements.

Oral Norton, 22, of Moruca, North West District (NWD) was the most recent murder victim. He was brutally chopped to death at Big Creek Backdam, NWD on June 14. The perpetrator had then sat at the scene and awaited the arrival of police ranks.

John Darwin McPherson
John Darwin McPherson

Based on reports the two worked at the same mining camp. It was suspected that the incident stemmed from the preparation of tea using a bark by the deceased during May, which resulted in the suspect falling ill after consumption. Norton’s head was almost severed during the attack.

Three days earlier, on June 11, the bloodied body of Brazilian national Maria Jose Assis Bazerra was found in a mining camp at Tiger Creek, Backdam, Mahdia which she and her husband operated. The crime chief told this newspaper last week that police are looking for a person of interest in the case and noted that there is nothing so far to suggest that the 47-year-old woman was a victim of robbery.

Police had initially arrested 11 men, including the woman’s husband, in connection with the murder. Reports are that the woman’s husband had left her and some workers in the mining camp, to travel to a Potaro location to search for more workers. The woman was later discovered bloodied and with her wrists tied. She had been repeatedly stabbed to the head.

Elroy Sealey called `Bread’ died on June 4, some two weeks after he was doused with gasoline and set alight during a confrontation at Chinee Landing, Cuyuni in Region Seven. After the incident the injured man had been rushed to the Bartica Hospital before being transferred to the Georgetown Hospital where he was admitted to High Dependency Unit where he remained until he died.

The crime chief said that persons held have since been charged in connection with his death.
Several more murders occurred in May.

On May 23, Gilbert Adams, 66, of Barakawu, which is located in the Moruca sub-region was allegedly stabbed to death by his son. Based on reports, the incident occurred during an argument. The suspect fled the scene and is yet to be apprehended.

On April 10, John Darwin Mc Pherson was beaten to death over an allegation of the theft of a “mat”, an instrument which is used to collect gold in mining operations. Four men, Mohammed Razak aka ‘Curry’; Shawn Casier aka ‘Black pepper’; Sasenarine Jairam aka ‘Bruck and’, and Vishnu Babu aka ‘Out and Bad’ have since been charged.

Also occurring in April was the murder of Randy Raphael  at Bruck Up Landing, NWD four days into the month.

Trevor Williams had since been charged. He is accused of shooting Raphael in the head while they were consuming alcohol.

Among the interior murders is that of Ray Holder, 29, of Sophia who was killed on March 24. Holder’s body was found floating in Garraway Stream, Potaro River four days after he went missing. A post-mortem examination revealed that he had been stabbed to death.

In February George Cardario, 51, was stabbed to death at Middle Mazaruni after he allowed a close relative to enter his home. The suspect was arrested.

In January there were two cases. The first involved John Friday who was beaten and gagged during a robbery on the Lethem RDC on January 18 and the second case which occurred on January 19, David John was killed at Konawaruk, Region Eight during a gold row. Persons have been charged in connection with both cases.

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