Sad Mother's Day for McKinnon's daughters
= No progress in shooting probe

Stabroek News
May 13, 2001

Mother's Day is usually a happy occasion in a household but is likely the total opposite today for the seven daughters of Donna McKinnon, who was shot dead over a month ago on Robb Street.

Up to now the police have not arrested anyone or issued wanted bulletins for suspects in relation to the shooting on April 9 which left McKinnon dead and injured Ramnarine Bhood.

Since the shooting, which occurred in an empty lot adjacent to Freedom House - headquarters of the ruling PPP/Civic - questions have arisen about the circumstances of McKinnon's death and the manner in which the investigation was being carried out.

The government had stated during the week following the killing that a pathologist would have been brought in from overseas to conduct an examination of the body after having it exhumed. This pathologist is yet to arrive in Guyana.

Initially, McKinnon's daughters and other relatives were against the exhumation but have since reconsidered this position following advice that it would be in their best interest. No contact has been made with the family concerning this proposition.

The results of the post mortem examination performed on McKinnon's body are still not known to the family. A death certificate was issued to the family last week, which stated that McKinnon died from haemorrhage and shock. It was signed by a Dr N.P. Singh. The registration of death was stated on the certificate as April 19 and the place of death as Robb Street.

One of McKinnon's daughter's, Sofina Solomon, 22, told Stabroek News yesterday that she wanted to tile her mother's tomb for Mother's Day but was advised against this by the police. The reason given was that the police were still awaiting the arrival of the pathologist to exhume the body.

Solomon was advised it would be a waste of money because the tiles would have to be broken for the body to be retrieved.

But the police hadn't the faintest idea when the pathologist would arrive, Solomon said.

The family still wants to know who authorised the removal of their mother's body from the Georgetown Public Hospital mortuary and returned it the day after she was murdered.

The family also wants to know why relatives were not allowed to witness the post mortem.

Solomon stated that from all reports, there were strong indications that shots might have been fired from Freedom House yet the police had not gone there to investigate. She said when she visited the police recently she was told that no instructions were given for them to conduct an investigation at Freedom House.

Solomon said the family was seeking to meet President Bharrat Jagdeo and Police Commissioner Laurie Lewis on the conduct of the investigation.

It was not disclosed whether a bullet was retrieved from McKinnon's body. McKinnon received two shots. One in the chest, which had an exit wound and another in the foot with no exit wound.

The police had said a warhead and a spent shell were retrieved from the scene where McKinnon was killed.

Ballistics tests would have traced the origin of the bullets, but it is being asked whether the police force has a ballistics expert. Another question is what sort of ammunition the police used that day. The Target Special Force had fired several shots to disperse a crowd, including McKinnon, which had gathered to watch the April 9 fire.

Solomon was peeved that the government had not made any approach to the family since a team led by Prime Minister Sam Hinds, and including Minister Gail Teixeira, had visited their home the day before McKinnon was buried.

The government delegation had a hostile reception at the home, but Solomon attributed this to the overflowing emotions at that time. She recalled that offers to secure jobs for some of the daughters to support themselves were made but these did not materialise.

According to her, Teixeira had said a job would have been available at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports for her. She said that an application was made but was unsuccessful. And no contact could be made with the minister since.

Solomon pointed out that the government had set up a committee to address the problems of the residents on the East Coast who were affected by the unrest there.

The government was strong in their condemnation of the triple murder which occurred at Enterprise last week, she said. She noted that the government "even sent several representatives to the funeral but not one of them came when my mother was buried."

Solomon said there was still speculation about the circumstances surrounding the triple murder but the government was "clearly making it a political issue."

"The concern the government is showing for the people killed at Enterprise should also be shown to our family," Solomon stated.