Bacchus murder accused says knows nothing about killings
Stabroek News
January 19, 2004

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Mark Thomas called `Kerzorkee', one of the three men charged with the January 5 murder of cattle farmer, Shafeek Bacchus, is strenuously denying any involvement in the matter and says he knows nothing about an alleged killing squad.

Lying shackled to a Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation bed and guarded by two policemen, Thomas yesterday told Stabroek News that he was at home when Bacchus was shot in front of his Princes Street home two Mondays ago.

Bacchus' brother, George Bacchus, had said the bullets that killed his brother were intended for him because he was speaking out about the activities of a death squad that had gone out of control. He had said he was a short distance away from his home when his brother was shot and as the car sped past him he recognised three men. Since then, Thomas of Auby's Wine Bar on George & Norton Streets; owner of the A&D Funeral Parlour, Ashton King, 48, of 104 Pineapple Road, East Ruimveldt and Shawn Hinds, 37 of 14 Eccles, East Bank Demerara have been charged with murder. Both Thomas and Hinds are ex-policemen.

King and Hinds appeared in the Georgetown Magi-strate's court on Friday and were remanded to prison while Thomas was rushed to the hospital.

The man yesterday said after he was told by the police he was charged with murder he was so shocked that he collapsed and when he awoke he was in the hospital bed.

The man said that on the night the murder occurred George Bacchus had visited his home and accused him of being involved, telling him that the "war now start". Bacchus could not be contacted yesterday for comment on this charge.

He said that on the same night he visited the Brickdam Police Station with the intention of making a report of the threat he received from Bacchus.

Thomas said when he approached the station the officer thought that he was there to give a statement in relation to a water tank which had fallen and damaged his neighbour's boutique. The water tank had fallen on January 3.

He said he was told to return to the station the following day which he did and made a statement about the threat he said he received from Bacchus.

He said on the Thursday after Bacchus died he was told to return to the station and when he did he was asked to hand over his licensed firearm and later told he had to go into the lock-ups.

Shortly after, King joined him in the lock-ups. Hinds turned himself into the police with a lawyer last week Monday. He said while in the lock-ups they were not really told anything about what was happening.

The man said last Thursday himself and King were placed on an identification parade. He said he was picked out by a man who claimed he had seen him in the car on the night of the shooting. He pointed out that because he is an ex-policeman everyone knows him.

He said he never believed he would have been charged because he was innocent so when he was told that the charge was laid he fainted.

Thomas said he knows Hinds because both were in the force together. King he says he only knows to say "hi and right." Both Hinds and King had visited his bar on more than one occasion for drinks. He said he knows nothing about any death and vehemently denied that the wine bar was used as a torture house for hapless victims of a killing squad.

The man said the bar is a reputable place which was visited by many persons who were upstanding members of society, including law enforcement officers.

He said he knows Bacchus from his days in the force but was never friendly with him and could not say why Bacchus would want to make allegations against him.

Thomas' employer, Aubert van Sertima, who said he travelled from Saudi Arabia to clear Thomas' name, had said that while he was in Guyana last September he had seen some men in a white car with machine guns in front of the bar. When he questioned Thomas he was told that the men were a minister's bodyguards. However, Thomas said yesterday the men were in fact members of the police force. He said he was guilty of nothing and was an honest man working hard.

Meanwhile, police yesterday confirmed that they were investigating the secretion of a cellular phone and phone cards in boxes of food taken for two of the men charged with the murder of Bacchus.

The police said that a box of food taken for Hinds was found to contain the phone while another taken for Thomas had two phone cards. One person has since been taken into custody.

Thomas yesterday said he does not know anything about the phone cards pointing out that he did not have a phone while in the lock-ups. He also said he did not know who would have taken the food for him.