The end of an era
December 28, 2006
There are many sayings that simply mean that all good things must come to an end. In Guyana some of these sayings are: ‘ Moon does run till day ketch am,' ‘Every day bucket go ah well one day de bottom must drop out,' ‘Happy living nah long life,' and of course, ‘The longest rope got an end.'
The Neil Bovell saga came to an abrupt end yesterday. He died as he lived, violently. He fell in a hail of bullets when the police cornered him during the mid-morning session when most people had gone to work and when the ordinary housewife would have been preparing the midday meal for her holidaying children.
Bovell had to be a psychopath because he killed without compunction. He also raped with seeming impunity, on occasions taking women from the very presence of their men folk. In one case he killed a man then abducted this man's daughter and kept this young woman in his camp until she managed to escape.
He was to repeat this trend of abducting women on many occasions.
On one occasion he visited a home occupied by two sisters, both of whom managed to escape—one by jumping through a window and the other by pleading for all it was worth until a passerby responded to the cries coming for the house and caused Bovell to flee into the surrounding bushes.
Perhaps Bovell's boldest move was when he hid outside the home of his estranged wife and killed her when no one was around. He had killed one wife before and escaped any sanction. This time the killing sparked a manhunt that only ended yesterday. The manner in which he killed Phillippa Harrison boggles the mind. He slashed her throat.
That Bovell was able to elude capture tells a tale of people willing to protect their own from the law, regardless of how serious the crime these people have committed. There are those of us who would try our utmost to get our elusive family member to surrender. Some of us have gone as far as to invite the police to come for the errant relative, but Neil Bovell's kith and kin offered him protection.
Such was the case that he was even provided with a television set, a large cache of canned foodstuff, a firearm and other dangerous implements that allowed him to survive in the backlands, along with a cellular phone.
When the father of his slain wife mounted a protest over the failure of the police to apprehend the killer, Bovell had the gumption to threaten the man.
In their pursuit of Bovell the police even killed a pensioner. Surely, Bovell would have been guilty of murder, to wit, the killing of the pensioner because it was he who instigated that killing.
Bovell is not the first criminal to spark a manhunt but he most certainly would go down as one of the longest-surviving criminals on the run. He lasted more than three years and from reports he roamed the length and breadth of the country. People spoke of spotting him in Buxton and in various parts of the East Coast Demerara. The police in Beterverwagting raided an old house aback of the village because someone claimed that they spotted Bovell there. That raid turned up nothing. Paranoia had gripped the land.
More recently, people in Georgetown began reporting sightings. One woman claimed that Bovell attacked her as she was walking through the Le Repentir Cemetery; another claimed that she saw him in Melanie Damishana and yet another, in Mahaica.
It was certainly long before there could have been mass hysteria and this would not have done the police any good because they would have ended up chasing shadows. In the end they got a useful call and they responded promptly. They managed to catch the elusive Neil Bovell and although they killed him there was not a tear to be shed. Instead, there was a collective sigh of relief.
Full credit must go to the police. They managed to nab some dangerous criminals who came out of the Agricola/McDoom area; they have almost rid the city of dangerous criminals and they are now going after those who have tormented the society for prolonged periods.
They need to update their photo bank because quite often the people they seek look far different from the posters they mount. But for whatever shortcoming they may have, they are sending a clear message that the hand of the law is long and that the law enforcement agencies do not sleep.
We know, too, that many people in West Demerara would enjoy a good night's rest for the first time in a very long time.