Bacchus death probe intensifies
--- questions likely about affidavit timing
Guyana Chronicle
June 28, 2004

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INVESTIGATIONS are expected to intensify this week into the murder of self-styled 'death squad' informant George Bacchus, as police seek to bring early closure to the circumstances surrounding his death.

No fresh word came from police headquarters yesterday, but sources close to the investigators say the probe, which entailed the questioning of police and relatives of the late Lodge resident last week, is likely to take another direction.

"The affidavits," the source said tersely yesterday.

Investigators reportedly will be questioning some PNC/R personnel on the affidavits reported to have been prepared by attorney and top PNC/R official Basil Williams and believed to have been handed over to police.

The source said PNC/R personnel would likely be questioned about the affidavits.

"It is a crime to withhold information of a criminal nature in a criminal investigation, and the police have been calling for anyone with information as regards the death squad allegations to come forward, since last January when this issue made the headlines. So the sudden appearance of these purportedly incriminating affidavits is something the police will want to delve into."

A ruling party spokesman said yesterday this was an "interesting development."

"As an opposition fiercely opposed to the ruling PPP/Civic, an opposition talking about making the country ungovernable and condoning subversion of the very rule of law it is marching through the streets saying it wants upheld, things such as fairness, truth and unbiased intent aren't what anyone can reasonably expect from the PNC/R."

"Of course, we're waiting to see where all this leads."

George Bacchus, 51, was shot to death in bed in his tight-security home in Princes Street, Lodge around 2.45 last Thursday morning.

Police said he was shot in his head and other parts of his body. Neighbours reported hearing "five or six" shots ring out and called the police, who arrived on the scene 15 to 20 minutes later.

The police detained four cops for questioning shortly after Bacchus' execution. But another three cops and several relatives of Bacchus were later held as the investigations progressed.

Bacchus became a controversial figure after giving conflicting information about the existence of a death squad and his role in the squad's operations at the height of the crime wave that lashed Guyana in the wake of the Mash Day 2002 jailbreak by five inmates who were later styled "freedom fighters."

He first went public on January 6, the day after his brother, Shafeek, was gunned down in a drive-by shooting for which he fingered three persons.

The latest Bacchus furore involved interviews recanting his allegations against Home Affairs Minister Ronald Gajraj. Bacchus reportedly denied that Minister Gajraj was ever linked to the death squad. But in a subsequent interview he said he was paid $10 million by someone in the PPP/C to recant his allegations against the minister.

Bacchus later said he threw the money onto the ground, refusing to accept it. Then he said that if he had gotten any money, he would have taken it to the U.S. Embassy.

Police Commissioner Winston Felix and Deputy Commissioner/Crime Chief Henry Greene said at a news conference last week that the police are leaving no stone unturned to get to the bottom of the Bacchus affair.