Chaos and conjecture at 'Kerzorkee' funeral
Stabroek News
February 7, 2004

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The funeral service for murder accused, Mark Thomas, yesterday was part fete part bar-room brawl with the deceased not always the focus of attention.

Thomas, called 'Kerzorkee', died in hospital on Sunday a few weeks after being charged with the January 5 murder of Shafeek Bacchus. The cattle farmer's death has brought forth allegations of a death squad which is said to have killed numerous criminals.

The 35-minute service was held at the A&D Funeral Home, owned by his co-accused Ashton King, who along with Shawn Hinds is now in the Camp Street jail awaiting a preliminary inquiry.

Soulful rather than sombre would best describe the atmosphere with lusty singing by mourners who jumped and weaved to the music. Tears flowed freely.

It was at about this time that a quarrel broke out outside the funeral home and those in the chapel turned their attention away from the body to investigate.

Two women were involved in a squabble reportedly over a man when one of them attacked the other, in the process hitting the woman's child in the head. The crowd rounded on the assailant and she was forced to run away. She stood at a distance venting her anger even as the man in contention was seen arguing with her. The man then rushed to his car and returned with a metal baseball bat, chased the woman for a few yards and dealt her some blows. She was saved by some in the crowd while others were calling for her to get more. The man drove off in his car while the victim, undaunted, picked up a piece of iron and went in search of the other woman who had already left.

Thomas had become a bit of a side show with one mourner uncharitably noting, "nobody ent gat time with no f...king dead, he done dead already."

Even the woman preacher declared she was not speaking "to the dead but to you who are here" even though the chapel was largely empty with the few who came saying they only went to "peep" the body. There was no eulogy for a man who was observed by his employer as having picked his friends unwisely.

However, when it was time to close the coffin there were tears as a group huddled over the body dressed in black. And comments that the deceased's complexion was dark and this may have been a result of circumstances surrounding his untimely death.

It has been alleged that Thomas, who died shortly after frothing from the mouth and calling for water, might have been poisoned.

A post-mortem on Wednesday did not determine how he died and samples were taken for further tests. Dr Nehaul Singh, the government pathologist performed the autopsy and Dr Edward Simon observed on behalf of Thomas' employer Aubert Van Sertima. Dr Simon had stated that he took samples from twelve different parts of the body to send overseas while Dr Singh took samples to be viewed under a microscope before he could make a determination. Van Sertima had stated that he was willing to pay for the samples to go to Miami on Wednesday via express courier. But the samples were taken by the police who had said they would be kept frozen until they sent them off. However, a senior police officer told Stabroek News that he was not aware of any samples being sent overseas.

He said the police are awaiting a report from Dr Singh to conclude the investigation and send the file for legal advice.