Police halt post-mortem process on Bacchus kin
--Visiting pathologist detained briefly

By Calvin Marshall
Guyana Chronicle
August 29, 2001

POLICE in Berbice yesterday intercepted a post-mortem examination procedure and arrested a foreign pathologist, who was recruited to perform autopsies on the bodies of Azad Bacchus, 41; his son Shazad Bacchus, 15, and his nephew Faddil Ally, 18.

The three died in a confrontation with the Berbice Anti Smuggling Squad (BASS) on Tuesday, August 14.

Dr Hughton Des Vignes of the Trinidad and Tobago Forensic Centre, had begun the first post-mortem on the body of Faddil Ally at a private funeral home in New Amsterdam, Berbice, when a Senior Police Officer arrived and stopped the proceedings, an official of the parlour told the `Chronicle’.

The action of the Police was necessitated on the grounds that the specialist doctor did not have a licence to practise in this country, sources said.

According to the supervisor of the funeral home, the doctor and some relatives of the three deceased persons arrived at the morgue yesterday, about 08:45 hrs for the procedures.

He said it was not long after the examination had begun, that the doctor was called from the table and whisked away to the Central Police Station in New Amsterdam. He did not return for the rest of the day.

A senior medical official in the town, told the `Chronicle’ that it is illegal for any doctor to practise in this country without certification from the relevant authorities.

The informant said the breach is also liable to prosecution, and that the acquisition of a licence could take some time.

Relatives of the two Bacchuses and Ally had solicited the service of the independent practitioner, after they had rejected the findings of the Government pathologist’s report.

The shooting incident triggered three days of protests, which turned ugly when demonstrators attacked the BASS office at Springlands, Corentyne, forcing the unit to open fire. This action resulted in two persons being killed on the spot.

Three other persons died when an ambulance taking the wounded to the New Amsterdam Hospital, toppled on the Corentyne Highway.

Reports said that Azad Bacchus, his son and his nephew, died in a shoot-out between officers of BASS and some men in a minibus.

But relatives and residents in the area have disputed these reports and are alleging that the BASS officers had killed them in cold blood.

An investigation has been launched by the Government into the matter, and President Jagdeo has met with the relatives of persons who died as a result of the protest action.

The `Chronicle’ has learnt that the visiting pathologist left the country yesterday for Trinidad, but is expected to return tomorrow.