Nitender Oemrawsingh, the Surinamese rice dealer who was killed execution-style in Guyana after being linked to the largest drug bust in his country had been a frequent visitor to Skeldon, Corentyne, a relative said yesterday.
Since his killing on Monday, apparently at the No.63 Beach, local sleuths have come under pressure to provide answers. The single-gunshot-to-the-head murder is typical of the underworld and underlined the cross-border characteristics of the drug trade.
The body of Oemrawsingh, 40, of Corantijn Polder, Nickerie District, Suriname, was found Monday around 4.30 pm on the Number 63 Beach. He was clad in a blue armless shirt, black trousers, a pair of socks and boots. Nickerie has a large Guyanese community.
A post-mortem examination was carried out yesterday morning at the Skeldon Public Hospital mortuary by Government Pathologist, Dr. Vivekanand Bridgemohan, who gave the cause of the man’s death as shock and haemorrhage due to a gunshot wound and laceration of the brain.
A police source had told this newspaper that based on the gunshot injury, it is suspected that a .32 pistol was used to shoot the man straight in the middle of his forehead. He was either pursued from Suriname to Guyana or a contract killer here did the job.
According to his uncle, who ventured to Guyana on Tuesday to identify Oemrawsingh’s body, he last spoke to his nephew last Friday. “Me talk to he Friday normal”, the uncle said, while noting that the man never indicated to him that he was in any sort of trouble.
The uncle, who was somewhat reluctant to speak with media operatives present yesterday morning, stated that his nephew was never arrested in Suriname but rather he had presented himself for questioning. “He been deh drive and do he business as normal. He was never arrested, he did go for questioning and that is it. Nickerie is shocked that is all I can tell you”, the grieving uncle said.
The man further noted, that he believes the investigation is for Guyana’s lawmen, since he is of the opinion that the killer may be from Guyana, as he cannot comprehend why a Surinamese would have wanted to murder his nephew, who he said has been helping the lesser fortunate in his country for years now.
Additionally, he stressed that his nephew was a well-known philanthropist in Suriname. “He does look after everybody, from old to young, everybody”, the man said, as he stood outside the mortuary where the post-mortem examination was being carried out on his nephew’s body.
He further explained that he planned to visit Georgetown yesterday to make arrangements to have his nephew’s body transported to Suriname for the funeral. “I going Georgetown now to see to get the body. I don’t know when we gon take him over yet”, he noted.
The uncle, a Surinamese himself, also condemned sections of the media in Suriname, which he said incorrectly reported that his nephew was arrested and that he was missing since last week Wednesday. The man insisted that his nephew was never missing at any point.
Meanwhile, another relative told Stabroek News that Oemrawsingh left home on Sunday and had reportedly told persons that he would be heading to Guyana.
According to the relative, the man would often visit Guyana to conduct business. “He does come over, long he na come by we but me does see he around (Skeldon)”, the Upper Corentyne, Guyanese relative noted.
The Surinamese exporter was reportedly brought to Guyana through the Number 63 Beach, Corentyne route.
Residents in the area had claimed that a boat was seen at the beach on Monday. It is suspected that the man would have been brought to Guyana with the boat.
A livestock rearer who resides a short distance away from the beach, had stated that early Monday morning, he heard a gunshot coming from the beach. He said, “Me hear the thing and me tell me brother one load go off there that was early morning me na know what time though,” the man, who was present at the beach on Tuesday grazing his goats said.
Meanwhile, local investigators close to the matter, who are tightlipped, told Stabroek News yesterday that they are working on some major leads that may result in an arrest soon.
However, Commander of B Division, Paul Langevine, yesterday afternoon told Stabroek News that no arrest had yet been made. Questioned on whether the county’s lawmen had any breakthrough or information pointing to any possible suspects, Langevine said, “Not to my knowledge, none”.
Also, questioned on whether Surinamese police officials had shown any interest in coming to Guyana to provide assistance or information to Guyana’s lawmen, Langevine said, “I don’t know if they have been communicating with the Crime Chief, (Lyndon Alves) but not with me”.
Calls to Alves’ phones yesterday and Tuesday for an update on the investigation went unanswered, however, Stabroek News has confirmed that at least one undercover detective came to Guyana through the backtrack route in Skeldon on Tuesday. Sources at the back track route noted that he was seen returning through the same port to Suriname yesterday morning.
It is being suggested that the exporter was shot dead on the orders of a big businessman in Suriname who was afraid that Oemrawsingh would have ratted him out in connection with the drug seizure in which he, the deceased, was fingered. “According to information we have is that he [deceased] is a man that will squeal easy, so a certain businessperson who drugs it was is afraid that he would a call his name,” a source had said.
According to the source, it is strongly believed that the drugs discovered last week did not belong to the deceased but that he was involved in transporting the illegal substance. “We were told that this is his first time in this,” the source had added.
This newspaper was also informed that close relatives of the deceased were allegedly fingered in smuggling cocaine and gold several times in the past.
The source had said that investigators are working on the theory that the killing was a `hit’. They had ruled out robbery since a small amount of US currency was found in his possession at the time of the discovery along with a cellphone and a spent shell.
The father of two was the proprietor of Nivash Rice, a milling company in Suriname, and was questioned last week by Surinamese police following the drug bust.
Surinamese media last Wednesday reported that at least 2,300 kilogrammes (5,070 pounds) of cocaine had been found. In an interview with local radio station ABC, Prosecutor General Roy Baidjnath Panday declined to confirm the exact amount, but said it was likely “well above a thousand to at least two thousand” kilogrammes, Reuters had reported.
News agencies in Suriname reported that the seizure was made at the Jules Sedney Port in Paramaribo, after the discovery was made by the port security during one of their routine control checks.
Meanwhile, according to a source in Suriname, four persons— a customs officer, two customs brokers and a truck driver, have so far been held in relation to the drug bust.
The source noted yesterday that they were still in custody for further questioning, while the drugs seized are expected to be destroyed today in Suriname.