Is the death squad back in operation? Editorial
Kaieteur News
July 26, 2004

Related Links: Articles on 'wrong man' death
Letters Menu Archival Menu

Early Saturday morning, unknown persons riddled a car in which a wanted man, Delroy Whyte and one of his companions, Stacey Lynch, happened to be traveling. The third person in the car, Brandy Elias is in hospital nursing gunshot wounds.

The news spread like wildfire. Before long, just about everyone in the know had been regaled with the details. Each of the victims had relatives who learnt of the shooting, to their chagrin. The mother of one of the victims only heard that her daughter was in hospital and that she, the mother, needed to rush down to the institution. When she got there she realized that her daughter had been shot.

In our society, whenever we hear that someone close to us has been shot we immediately conjure up images of some criminal activity. This is because within recent times, only criminals have been guilty of gun crimes. Shortly after the infamous Camp Street jailbreak of 2002, the gun became the weapon of choice. Instead of the customary handguns, the criminals used assault rifles. AK47 became synonymous with criminals although the army and the police have such weapons in their arsenal.

Then came the death squad allegations. These sprang up as soon as a gang believed to have been controlled by Dale Moore took a city businessman hostage. The businessman managed to escape. Hours later Dale Moore and Mark Fraser, two of the men who escaped from the Camp Street jail on Mash Day 2002, met their end in a hail of bullets.

Others died that same day. Less than a week later a group of gunmen began to run riot in and around Georgetown. The reign of terror imposed by the latter gunmen is still a talking point.

The society eventually started to feel safe following the protests mounted against the death squad and the subsequent killing of some of them.

That is why the most recent shooting is sending alarm among the people of this country. They are coming to the realisation that an active death squad is still out there. The manner of the execution suggests that a submachine gun was used. This too is scary. The weapons in the hands of people other than law enforcers must be a cause for concern.

If there is an active death squad then the question about the person managing the members need to be asked. This must be a well organised operation since plans have to be made and executed to precision.

The police failed to find Whyte but certainly the death squad did and planned the execution. Its members were able to trail Whyte and kill him not far from a police station. Having killed the man and one of his companions, the squad simply drove back to the city. The police could not close down the city in time and we are certain that even if they did, the members of the squad would have been able to pass through any police cordon. This was the case when two brothers, both of them minibus operators, were gunned down further down the West Coast. The men killed and returned to the city even as the police were manning roadblocks. This was the same when another death squad, perhaps the same one, killed people in the city. One woman told reporters at another newspaper that a policeman actually warned her that she should protect the person the death squad had targeted because the police could not help her and further, they could do nothing.

It was the same thing when they killed a wanted man named ‘Monkey Nut’. The death squad struck and the police were right behind them. However, all they could do was deny involvement in the killing. To this day no one has been arrested.

So we have to worry about our safety. We are not aware that Whyte actually wronged any member of the death squad. We know that he was a prime suspect in the murder of a young taxi driver. We know that the murdered taxi driver was not as clean as people believed since he went to his grave with two bullets in his knee, having been shot before the fateful night.

So the death squad is marching again. The police have issued other wanted bulletins. Would these men be marked for death in the same way as Whyte was? Are other people, including those who survived legal battles, be marked in the same way? Are we seeing the death squad back in operation?