Were DNA samples taken in Kescia Branche probe?

As investigations into the killing of Kescia Branche appear to have stalled, it is unclear if investigators took  DNA samples from her or the men, including the police ranks, who were being questioned to establish if she was sexually assaulted.

Stabroek News yesterday contacted acting Crime Chief Paul Williams for clarity on the matter. However, Williams said that he would need to find out from investigating ranks and he should be contacted later.

Multiple calls made to Williams later went unanswered. Stabroek News also contacted the force’s public relations officer Jairam Ramlakhan who said he was also unable to make contact with the acting crime chief.

Branche, 22, a mother of one and a teacher at the Richard Ishmael Secondary School, was found next to a coconut tree on November 5 along Cemetery Road from Louisa Row, Georgetown, obliquely opposite the cemetery office, sometime around 5 am. Two days after, she succumbed to her injuries at the Georgetown Public Hospital’s, Intensive Care Unit.

Branche had sustained head injuries and a broken foot. The doctor who treated her told her family that the head injuries appeared to be consistent with blows to the head.

Two police ranks who were last seen with Branche on Saturday, November 4, and Branche’s ex-partner along with others were being questioned. However, they were released from police custody.

The ex-partner of Branche was on Tuesday placed on station bail while the two constables were placed on open arrest after their detention period expired.

With the probe seemingly set back, analysts say DNA evidence could be key to advancing the case.


Wealth fund requires consensus on fiscal, legal framework – expert

As Guyana prepares for a Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) ahead of oil production in 2020, the former manager of one of the world’s most successful ones yesterday stressed the importance of full consensus by the society on its fiscal and legislative framework.

Planned Cheddi Jagan centennial stamps scrapped

The Ministry of the Presidency appears to have scuttled an arrangement between the Ministry of Public Telecommuni-cations and the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre (CJRC) for the production of stamps commemorating the centenary of the birth of late President Cheddi Jagan.

Independent probe of seawall fatal shootings needed, GHRA head says

An independent investigation should be launched into the police’s recent fatal shooting of three robbery suspects along the Kingston seawall, President of the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) Mike McCormack says.

Public health outreaches showing more than 50% of participants overweight

Food and nutrition stakeholders yesterday heard that outreaches have shown increasing obesity. Director of the Food Policy Division of the Ministry of Public Health Dinte Conway, in presenting a snapshot of the nutrition situation in Guyana, noted that the country is becoming increasingly more obese, with recent outreaches showing more than 50% of participants to be overweight.

Judge upholds three-year minimum for ganja trafficking but says law permits lighter sentences

While upholding the constitutionality of the mandatory minimum three-year sentence for ganja trafficking, Justice Jo-Ann Barlow has ruled that magistrates do have the discretion to impose lighter sentences where special circumstances may warrant.


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