Some of the Joint Services members being sought by the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the 2008 Lindo Creek killings are available and will give a “preliminary interview” tomorrow, the Guyana Defence Force said yesterday.
The army did not name those who will be interviewed but said that they are available after an agreement was reached following correspondence from the commission.
In a press release, the GDF said that it received correspondence from the CoI, requesting that a number of ranks be made available to appear before the Commission.
“The Force has since responded, indicating the availability of the requested ranks, as some are no longer in its employ. Further, an agreement has been reached for those available ranks to report to the Commission of Inquiry for a preliminary interview on Wed 18-04-18 at 1130 hours”, the release said.
The ads which appeared in the daily newspapers during the past week, the most recent publication being yesterday, asked that Ayodele Woolford, former lieutenant of the Guyana Defence Force; Dwand Cambridge, former Assistant Superintendent of the Guyana Police Force; Colonel Lloyd Souvenir; Captain Sheldon Howell; Major Fitzroy Ward; Private Taylor; Private Quailo and Philbert Bobb or anyone knowing their whereabouts make urgent contact with the commission. No reason was stated but the commission’s attorney Patrice Henry told this newspaper on Saturday that they are wanted for interviews to determine if they have information pertinent to the investigation.
He explained that the ads had nothing to do with anyone being wanted for testimony. “Once the commission is in receipt of information that persons may have had some information or knowledge that is relevant, we would basically conduct interviews with those persons,” he said.
The attorney noted too that these persons may either have information or might be somehow connected to “some activity at Lindo Creek.”
The Commission’s Public Relations Officer, Melanie Morris when contacted told Stabroek News that Souvenir and Howell as well as GDF officer Omar Khan whose name is not on the list advertised are indeed scheduled to appear tomorrow. She said that the commission is hoping to meet with the other persons whose names are listed and urged that they or anyone who knows of their whereabouts make contact with the commission at telephone number 227-2292 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stabroek News understands that the commission is very interested in speaking to Woolford as it is believed that he has important information. He was the head of the army’s contingent in the Lindo Creek area conducting duties around the time that the bodies of the eight miners were discovered. As such the commission is of the view that it is critical that he be interviewed.
The CoI is inquiring into the circumstances surrounding the killings of Cecil Arokium, Dax Arokium, Horace Drakes, Bonny Harry, Lancelot Lee, Compton Speirs, Nigel Torres and Clifton Berry Wong on or about 21st day of June, 2008. The findings and recommendations are to be reported to President David Granger on completion of the inquiry, which is being conducted by former judge Donald Trotman.
Burnt human bones and skulls had been discovered on June 21st, 2008 by Leonard Arokium, owner of the Lindo Creek mining camp. DNA tests done in Jamaica several years later confirmed that the remains had belonged to the miners, inclusive of Arokium’s son and his brother. The men were mining for diamonds at the location when they met their gruesome deaths. After the miners were slaughtered, their bodies and belongings were burnt. Although a large find had been reported at the camp, there was no trace of any diamonds when the remains were found.
The Lindo Creek CoI is the first of what the APNU+AFC government has said would be a series of inquiries into the hundreds of killings which occurred during a crime wave that began in 2002.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story had erroneously said that Captain Sheldon Howell had headed the army’s contingent in the Lindo Creek area.