Forty-three execution-style murders this year

Stabroek News
November 17, 2006

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The police have recorded 136 cases of murder so far this year with some 43 of these being execution-style killings and 47 domestic-related.

Of the number of murders, 70 were committed in 'A' Division, 15 in 'B', 20 in 'C', 11 in 'D', 13 in the interior locations and seven in Essequibo.

Crime Chief Heeralall Makhanlall last Friday revealed these crime statistics to a gathering of private sector representatives at Eve Leary.

Makhanlall said that execution-style killings accounted for 58% of the total number of murders.

He said too that for the current year the most prevalent crime is armed robbery, involving the use of firearms. However, other crimes such as rape and even murders were committed during the course of these robberies.

According to the Crime Chief, perpetrators are attracted to those perceived to be of some good economic standing, particularly, the armed robberies executed on victims at premises and homes.

In terms of robberies where firearms are being used there was an increase of 44% in July this year, however, this was reduced to 37% by the end of August and to a further 18% by November 6, Makhanlall said.

He disclosed that between January 1 and November 6 this year there were 990 reports of robbery under arms. Of these, on 808 occasions firearms were used, as against 836 reports for the same period in 2005 when firearms were used on 649 occasions.

Makhanall also revealed that for the year so far the country has received 234 deportees, with 152 coming from the USA and 24 from French Guiana.

Police have charged over the years that the large influx of deportees was fuelling the crime situation since a number of the deportees were usually behind some of the killings and robberies.

There were also 97 cases of rape for the year so far compared to 130 for the same period last year.

Makhanlall said that overall, the Force's efforts have been spent on reducing the number of cases of robbery under arms (firearms used) committed in all the divisions. He said recently patrols have been doubled on a daily basis both by day and night.

He also said that roadblocks, raids and cordon and search exercises conducted have increased and the continued support of the Army in joint exercises is another method used to deter those criminals who are bent on committing robberies.

Additionally, Makhanlall said that trafficking in persons became prevalent in 2004 and was detected first in Berbice, Essequibo and East Coast Demerara. He noted that young females were taken to the interior and Suriname where they were promised work as waitresses, bartenders and domestics. However, on arrival they were forced into prostitution. For this year, nine cases of trafficking in persons were investigated and persons charged.

In the area of identifying suspects Makhanlall said this has met with some difficulty, due to fear by witnesses of the suspects and concerns for their own safety. He said that after suspects were arrested, several persons refused to attend identification parades and some of those who attended later said that they had seen the suspects but were afraid to identify them.

Further, Makhanlall said that during this year members of the public came out in support of the Police Force. This, according to him, is a positive sign that the public is regaining confidence and trust in the force.

He noted that public support has led to the cornering and subsequent death of wanted man Troy Dick. Dick, Dale Moore, Andrew Douglas, Mark Fraser and Shawn Browne made a bloody escape from the Camp Street jail on February 23, 2002. Their escape ushered in an unprecedented wave of terror, which resulted in the deaths of over two dozen policemen and scores of citizens. Dick had managed to elude the police since 2002, until he was shot dead along with another accomplice in September following a robbery on Regent Street. He was the last escapee alive until then as all the others met their deaths in violent confrontations with the police.

Moreover, Makhanlall said, public information also led to the recovery of three AK-47 rifles at Rising Sun, West Coast Berbice recently. Two of the rifles were part of the 30 that were stolen from the Guyana Defence Force storage bond at Camp Ayanganna in February this year. Makhanlall said that public support assisted them in tracking down the bandits who robbed the two commercial banks in Berbice back in August. Following the robbery, the joint services killed eight of the bandits who were said to be criminals connected to the Buxton/Agricola gang. The lawmen also recovered eight of the stolen AK-47 rifles.

The public also helped in giving information which led to the arrest of several persons who were charged for serious crimes, some of which are now engaging the attention of the Court.

Several stolen articles were recovered as well.

Makhanlall also noted the assistance of the public in preventing bandits from continuing their attacks on residents of Canal Number Two Polder recently. A large band of criminals had attacked two households in the community and shot several persons, one of whom died during the robbery. One of the bandits was later found dead in a trench at the back of the village. He was found with one of the army's stolen AK-47 rifles strapped to his body. Police are yet to identify the bandit.

Fusion of gangs

Makhanlall said there is evidence that there is a fusion of the Buxton and Agricola gangs, while those gangs that surfaced in 2005 in Sophia, and Kaneville areas are dormant at the moment.

Through intelligence, several gang members were identified, some were captured and some were killed in shoot-outs with the Police, the Crime Chief asserted. He mentioned that recently John Anthony Heywood called 'Kirby' who was wanted for questioning in relation to several robberies and murders was fatally shot when he confronted a police patrol at Agricola. Analysis on a shotgun Heywood was using proved that it was used in the murder of 12-year-old Kevin Browne who was fatally shot by bandits at Mc Doom in February 2006. He said that through intelligence they were able to capture Jermaine Charles aka 'Skinny', Terrence John aka 'Dog', and Dwight Da Silva aka 'Dwight', Delon Kenny aka 'Nasty man', Quincy Evans aka 'Juicy Dog', Dwayne Critchlow, Andy Williams aka 'Bushman', Sherwin Brant and Tenesha Samuels. All of these men are said to be members of the Agricola gang and have been charged with various offences ranging from the killings at Kaieteur News printery to that of businessman Barbot Paul, Wordsworth Grey and 12-year-old Browne.

Makhanlall noted too that the AK-47 rifles stolen from the Guyana Defence Force have found their way into the hands of the bandits. To date, he said, 12 of the weapons have been retrieved and eight of these were recovered from the bandits who had robbed the two banks at Berbice, one was found abandoned at Melanie, East Coast Demerara and two were found abandoned at Rising Sun, West Coast Berbice.

Despite their successes, Makhanlall said they continue to face difficulties. He noted the challenge of identifying these bandits as their features have changed over the years and help from members of the public would be the key to their arrest and prosecution. According to him there are still a few obstacles that are preventing them from effectively executing their duties, including the reluctance of witnesses to come forward to give evidence or information, refusal by victims to attend ID parades, as well as bail being granted to persons who had been charged on several occasions with serious matters and are still before the Courts.