Watchman dies days after found with throat slit at Corentyne River site

– employer, others being questioned

A 61-year-old watchman succumbed in a city hospital on Friday morning, two days after he was discovered with his throat slit at Pigeon Island, Corentyne River where he was working and his employer along with several others is being questioned by the police.

Dead is Vickram James called “Sham” of Lot 102 Alexander Street, Rampur Village, Corentyne, Berbice.

According to reports reaching Stabroek News, James had been employed recently with a sawmill owner identified as Vishawn Persaud Baichan aka “Francis” and had been performing duties of a watchman. He was subsequently sent to a location in Pigeon Island, Corentyne River where Baichan is said to be building a concession to perform the same task.

Vickram James

Information revealed that earlier this week, Baichan sent another individual to relieve James. While exiting the boat that person discovered that James was injured and became afraid and left the area after which he informed Baichan.

They police were alerted and on Wednesday a team visited the area. James, who was still alive, was transported to the Skeldon Hospital, but owing to his condition he was transferred to the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPH) where he succumbed early Friday morning.

Commander of ‘B’ Division Ian Amsterdam yesterday confirmed with Stabroek News that the matter was reported to the police and an investigation has since been launched.

Thus far, Amsterdam said, the police have since obtained a statement from Baichan who is being further questioned.

“…It appears to be a murder since nothing was stolen. But the police have to revisit the scene to conduct further investigations and we are waiting for the other individuals who made the discovery to return so that they can be questioned,” Amsterdam said yesterday afternoon.

He said James never regained consciousness and as such the police were unable to obtain a statement from him as to what exactly transpired.

Contacted yesterday, the dead man’s sister, Shirley James told this newspaper that the family was still trying to come to grips with his death.

The grieving woman said that her brother recently started working with Baichan. She explained that about two months ago her husband passed away and one day during the period of mourning, her daughter who was visiting from overseas noticed Vickram packing his belongings. “She ask he where he did going and he said he was going to work as a watchman but although she tried to stop he from going, he didn’t listen and went,” Shirley said.

When Vickram did not return and was not seen or heard from, his family became worried and started to enquire about his whereabouts. “I tell my son to go by the man that own the sawmill and check on him because a month and a half did pass and he didn’t come back home,” Shirley said.

According to woman, when her son visited Baichan he confirmed that Vickram worked there and that he had sent him to another location.

“When he go on Monday afternoon and ask about Vickram, the man [Baichan] said he was told that thief went in the place and Vickram was stab,” Shirley related.

She said Baichan promised to visit the Corentyne River location the following day to bring Vickram out  but the family never heard from him. It was a police officer, who is known to the family, who visited their home and told them that they should visit the hospital as Vickram had been admitted as a patient.

Shirley said family members visited the Skeldon Hospital but Vickram was not there. They later learnt that he had been transferred and they visited the GPH on Friday morning. “… They start asking about if they get anybody with stab wounds with the name and somebody tell them that the person pass away,” she said.

The family was given an opportunity to identify the body at the mortuary and noticed that his throat was slit.

“When we go back and ask the man [his employer] he saying another story about some bee attack Vickram in the area and he tek a knife he had in he hand and pass it across he throat,” Shirley explained.

The family is of the belief that the employer knows what led to Vickram’s death but has been trying to cover it up. “He saying that how the other men that went in the interior with Vickram come out back and was he alone in there when the incident occurred,” she said.


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