When will the police answer questions on these murders?

Stabroek News
June 2, 2001

Dear Editor,

Your newspaper article, "Cops tightlipped on Robb St, East Coast murders" (SN 21-5-2001) makes me wonder if there is any hope for true democracy in Guyana. I find it extremely difficult to figure out why the police cannot answer simple questions raised by your newspaper regarding the murders of Donna McKinnon, Mervyn Barran, Bemchand Barran, and Dhanpaul Jagdeo.

Please allow me to reiterate some the questions raised concerning the death of Donna McKinnon since these questions cannot be allowed to go unanswered in a democratic society: Why wasn't there an investigation into the alleged shooter at Freedom House on the day of the incident? Were the occupants of Freedom House on the day of the shooting ever questioned? If not, why not? Who are the police that reportedly asked the "man in black" at Freedom House to identify himself? Did these police give any written statements regarding the incident? Who are the people that reportedly saw the man shooting from Freedom House? Did any of these people give any statement? Why was McKinnon's body found under a zinc sheet?

Was McKinnon shot with the same caliber bullet as Ramnaraine Bhood? What types of bullet did the police fire that day? Why weren't McKinnon's daughters allowed to view the autopsy? What is the position with the second pathologist that was supposed to be brought in to perform a second autopsy? These are all simple questions that need serious answers.

The police silence surrounding the murders of Mervyn Barran, Bemchand Barran, and Dhanpaul Jagdeo is also deafening. The Minister of Home Affairs reportedly said that the police were making headway in their investigations, yet the minister failed to provide any information supporting his claim. Of course it could be expected that the generic "we cannot compromise the investigation" response would be given to stem any inquiry into the murders, but I am willing to bet that no one will be charged with the murders of these people.

The lack of information from the police regarding the deaths of these innocent victims is reason enough for people in Guyana to be scared of the society they live in.

The deaths of Donna McKinnon, Mervyn Barran, Bemchand Barran, and Dhanpaul Jagdeo also show that you could be pawns of the political parties even in death. The PNC used McKinnon's death to parade her through the streets of Georgetown. However, where did the PNC go since her burial?

Why didn't the PNC provide McKinnon's daughters with legal counsel to seek answers to questions surrounding their mother's death? I guess that dead people do not file election petitions.

Likewise, the whole PPP entourage showed up at the funeral of the three victims on the East Coast even persuading the relatives of the victims to disallow any demonstration that would highlight their plight. However, in the end, the people of the East Coast are still left in their predicament wondering who will be murdered next.

Yours faithfully,

Vijay Puran