The death of Shaka Blair must be investigated
Stabroek News
April 15, 2002

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Dear Editor,

The shooting to death of Mr Shaka Blair at his home at Buxton Middle Walk in the early hours of Saturday morning by members of the notorious Black clothes police is not simply the continuation of the murderous behaviour by this criminal group in the Guyana Police Force. The intention behind the murder of Shaka Blair was to revenge the death of the late Superintendent of Police Mr Leon Fraser.

This fascist act must be condemned and those responsible be brought to justice.

It is not incidental that this killing occurred just hours before Mr Fraser was to be laid to rest and the village of Buxton chosen to be the place to set off this new political drama. Every Guyanese knows that the decision to send the black clothes police into Buxton to murder one of its sons was bound to result in the villagers rising up in mass protest - given the present political atmosphere in the country.

Stabroek News of 7,4.2002 in its front page lead story captioned "Police shoot Buxton man dead in home" quoted from the police's press release: "acting on information that the wanted man was at home, ranks visited his residence and attempted to arrest him. He refused to cooperate, and instead discharged a loaded firearm at ranks who were forced to take cover and returned fire, resulting in Blair being struck." At the hospital he was pronounced dead on arrival. If it sounds familiar it is only because it is the old discredited nonsense that characterises every attempt by the police to explain away murder by their hands. To add insult to their heinous act the police also claimed that Mr Blair had in his possession the usual gun and ammunition (not knives these days) and, not surprisingly, the plotters included a hand grenade in the deceased's alleged arsenal. This is the extent of their criminal behaviour. Who are they trying to fool? Not the Guyanese public.

The report of Simi Rag-nauth, wife of the deceased Shaka Blair, had the ring of truth. Her narration of the events leading up to her husband's murder are compelling if only because of the consistency of the details. Mr Blair was dragged from his bed along with his wife and child, he was isolated from his family and then executed while his wife and two children were held hostage, forced to lie face down with guns pointing to them. They are threatened to stay quiet or risk being killed. This is the PPP/C and President Jagdeo's model cops at work.

Given the context of this latest murder of Shaka Blair, the opposition political parties, the Guyana Human Rights Association and members of civic society must vigorously demand and pursue an investigation into this horrendous affair. The heads of both the Anglican and Catholic churches, Bishops George and Singh, can no longer straddle the fence. They were very vocal in the days of the excesses of the PNC regime but now give the impression that they are very comfortable with what is now taking place.

In the face of the atrocities now being perpetrated on the Guyanese people it is difficult to understand why the bastions of the "democratic world" - USA, UK and Canada - continue to give it their unconditional financial and political support.

In this case there is not only the corroborated evidence of the wife of the slain Shaka Blair, his relatives living in the building and those who saw him practicing his trade on Easter Monday, but there is also the evidence of the telephone call made by the Blair's to the Vigilance police station on their cordless phone. This claim can be proven beyond any doubt from the phone company's records. As brother Kwayana had cause to point out in his statement on the killing, Shaka Blair was not in hiding and could have been arrested if the police wanted to do so. The Guyana Police Force has long lost credibility in the eyes of the public and we cannot take their word that Mr Blair's fingerprints were found in a car, which was hijacked.

If the police can plant a hand grenade in the deceased's premises it is not surprising that they are saying that his prints were found on the car or cars. Will this latest murder like the hundreds of others in the recent history of the nation go unpunished?

Shaka Blair's killers must be charged with murder and placed before the courts. If not, the nation will continue to bleed.

Be presidential, Mr Jagdeo. The young people that you so passionately wish to inspire are neither impressed nor inspired by your positions on these glaring acts of police murders. They want the truth. Be careful, Mr President, history may only remember you as just another ruthless leader.

Yours faithfully,

Tacuma Ogunseye