Berbice, Guyana–September 9th 2020.
The Berbice region of Guyana was in turmoil yesterday and President Ali was facing a major security crisis just over a month since taking office after a prolonged post-election struggle to take office.
It all started last Sunday when two teenage boys, Isaiah and Joel Henry, ages 16 and 19, of Number 3 Village, West Coast Berbice. went to pick coconuts from their family coconut patch.
When they didn’t return after some hours a search was organized and their bodies were found in the Cotton Tree backdam on the property of a neighboring coconut farmer, having been viciously hacked to death. Peeled coconuts and a coconut peeling tool were found close by.
The young men were discovered with chop wounds about their bodies, including to their faces.
A number of men were taken into custody by the police, including the owner of the coconut farm where the boys’ bodies were found. The suspects have not been named.
Now yesterday, Haresh Singh, a 17-year-old grandson of one of the accused was also found dead, hacked to death, having apparently been attacked while driving to work on a motorcycle, which was found burnt out.
His 15-year-old sister Amrita Singh told the News Room that her brother left home on his motorcycle to transport water for his uncles who were in the backdam.
Amrita said the family noticed a group of men headed into the backdam and became suspicious as they appear to be persons who were protesting the death of Isaiah and Joel Henry who were brutally murdered at the weekend.
Because of ongoing protests and road blockages in the area, police have not been able to properly investigate the murders or interview witnesses, said Crime Chief, Wendell Blanhum.
President Irfaan Ali then stepped in yesterday with an announcement that he is calling for help from the Regional Security System (RSS) of the Caribbean and the UK government to restore order and bolster the investigative capacity of the police force as they probe the murders of three teenagers in the village of Cotton Tree as well as the “criminality which led to the disruption of lives along the Region Five corridor.”
“We will seek to use all available tools in not only solving these crimes but also in getting a comprehensive and holistic picture as to all the events surrounding what took place thereafter,” Ali said in an address to the Nation.
Ali also said: “It is again with a very heavy heart that as President, I have to address Guyanese on another barbaric incident. The criminals who snuffed the lives out of Joel and Isaiah were barbaric in nature.”
“There is no other way to describe it. The criminals who snuffed the life out of Haresh Singh, seventeen years-old are equally barbaric. It is in the interest of all Guyanese, of all of Guyana that these criminals are brought to justice swiftly.”
Chairman of the People’s National Congress/Reform (PNCR) Volda Lawrence on yesterday condemned the murder of 17-year-old Haresh Singh who was killed as protests escalate over the murders of Isaiah and Joel Henry.
The political leader said it is “gruesome and barbaric,” the way the Henry cousins were killed and she is just as hurt and angered as others protesting the murder but she noted that it is not right to continue killing each other.
“We’re not a people who kill our children, we’re not a people who maim each other, we’re not barbarians, we’re Guyanese,” Lawrence said in a live video posted on Facebook.
She also urged protestors to stop blocking the roads.