is Not an Essay. This is a selction of images,
articles, et cetera to highlight the political and racial
violence which has plagued Guyana since the 2001 General Elections,
particulary the rise of black militancy coupled with criminality
to overthrow the government, and the arrival of the death squads
or "phantom" to counter this armed resistance emanating
out of though not necessarily from Buxton. This electronic
scrap book is not to be used for any citation although official,
real documents etc cetera quoted herein can and should
be used by writers and researchers where appropriate. The editor
welcomes any image from the public which they think should be
added here. Please send to firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy.
Left: "Wuk pon she!
Wuk pon she!" as chanted by those who created this
1997 effigy (photo, voodoo doll) of
Janet Jagan, tossing it into the air as a pseudo-voodoo ceremony
is conducted outside the High Court, with one wish: that the court
rejects Janet Jagan/PPP as the legitimate winner of the 1997 general
elections. Right, the 2000 PNC Congress;
Desmond Hoyte, the Party Leader arrives. This is the final Congress
before the 2001 general elections is contested.
PART ONE: THE 2001
ELECTIONS, PNC STREET VIOLENCE, PPP SELL OUT AND WHAT "PEACE"?
19, 2001: The General Elections in Guyana which is won, for the
third consecutive time, by the PPP/C. The elections result is
questioned by the PNC. Street violence begins. Note, the campaigh
slogan for the PNC was "Slow Fire" (see D. Hoyte, SN
6/21/2001). In addition, violence begins againts Indian cokmuters
passing through Buxton etc. And roads are dug up to slow/stop
traffic; an opportunity to rob and assault. The election result
is contested in court by a PNC supporter. Street violence begins
from election days itself and does not stop until early May 2001,
as the PPP comes under intense pressure to negiotate despite winning
53% of the electorate
Left, PNC supporters awaiting a decision
from the court. Hoyte would call the decision from the court,
after Chief Justiced dismissed the election petition brought by
(PNC supporter) private citizen, Veronica Delph, "flawed
and insupportable." It only led to more violence on the streets.
end of elections brings the start of violence. Many buildings
were burned down in "mystery fires." An example occurred
on March 21 when the home of Ms. Devika Persaud on Peter Street,
Annandale, burned down, leaving her and her two daughters, Nazir,
7, and Nazeela, 11, homeless at the time. The Ministry of Works
building (see photo) and the MMA
building up the East Coast were also targeted.
In the meantime, the media is filled with what
Stabroek News (SN) in an editorail called "Preachers of Hate."
Here is an extract; "Consistently advocating hatred on television
for one ethnic group on the basis that some of its members are
personally biased against the other group, some are well off (the
majority are not) and some indulge in discriminatory employment
practices is by any reckoning an extremely dangerous practice,
and is bound to lead to serious trouble. Indeed, it has in the
opinion of many experienced observers already done so by contributing
to the extreme hostility shown since the March election and a
continuation can only make things worse." (see March 22,
2001 SN editorial)
On March 21, Mr. Haslyn Parris, a senior PNC
figure, admits publicly that the result is good. He is mobbed
and assaulted by PNC supporters inside PNC HQ, Congress Place,
and has to be saved by Hoyte who intervened.On March 23rd, in
the height of disturbances, Franklin Thomas and Oswald Fraser,
two Black PPP members are abducted and taken by PNC supporters
to PNC HQ, Congress Place, where they're held captive and beaten
with ticks. There is no official apology or statement on this
by the PNC.
April, the situation sinked dangerously. On April 9, there is
widespread rioting in the city. Anti PPP demonstratorts amassed
before Freedom House (PPP HQ on Robb Street). Shots are fired.
There is, reportedly, a video by Mark Benschop showing a man in
a long, black coat going in and out of the back door. At the end
of the shooting, a street vendor's body (Donna McKinnon) was found
in a nearby empty lot. Another bystander, Mr.amnarine Bhoda, is
also shot. A bullet was logged near his spine...he survived. The
death of McKinnon incensed PNC supporters. Rickford Burke, a former
worker (advisor?) under Hoyte, now heading GID based in Brooklyn,
NY, wrote the following in an e-mail transmitted globally; "Afro
woman killed by Indian male." (E-mail dated April 9, 2001).
That night, arsonists took to he Indian-owned stores on Regent
Street; some 9-12 are gutted, inckuding A.H. & L Kissoon (photo).
April 2001, two weeks after President Jagdeo said he would not
be intimidated by violence, he met with Mr. Hoyte. In the end:
there is Dialogue between the PPP and PNC. The PPP agrees to all
17 concessions made by the PNC, arguing from a "position
of strength"(meaning street violence). See Hoyte and President
Jagdeo after one of their "Dialogue" meets.
on the Dialogue On
the Meaning of Dialogue
Outside of the city, especially on the East Coast,
Indians became open for easy attacks from Black men and women.
For example, on April 12 at 6am, Ms. Bibi Nazmoon Khan is assualted
by three individuals, includng a Black woman. They chased off
her husband and stripped the woman,
leaving her naked in her home. On April 18th, while
the funeral of Mrs. McKinnon is in process in Golden Grove, a
minibus carrying passengers from the airport (a family from overseas
including a 10-yr-old girl) is made to stop. The child
is chopped on her thigh and a failed kidnap effort
is attempted attempt. On April 23, a bus is stopped as it passes
through Buxton and channa-bombs are thrown into it. A number of
people are burned; Ms. Dhanwattie Phagoo of Enmore jumped through
a window, her head on fire. She is chased down the road.
"Position of strength": PNC Buxton supporters on the
road. Below, B. Barran and D. Jagdeo, executed to provoke
group of Black radicals, determined to wrestle power from the
PPP, decided that to destablaise Guyana, race conflicts were needed.
A decision was made for a set of executions. On May 4th, early
in the morning, a father (Bemchand Barran,
left) and his 10-yr-old son (Mervyn Barran) from Enterprise
are executed in the backdam where they went to catch shrimp. Not
far from them Mr. Dhanpaul Jagdeo (photo,
right), from Non Pareil, is found. Each
was executed. One policeman seemed to have taken the case
personally, police detective Harry Kooseram.
The PPP monopolised the funerals, suppressing protests from the
Indian community.The plan to ignite a race war was averted, but
the pressure continued.
Left, the Barran family after the double-tragedy;
right, GIHA's Rhyaan Shah, ROAR's Ravi Dev, and the PPP-TUF's
Manzoor Nadir at the funerals.
PNC (Hoyte, Corbin, Trotman, etc.) leaves the National Assembly;
right, PNC supporters protest outside parliament.
On May 28, a police vehicle is ambushed at Coldingen. One cop,
Sherwin Alleyne, dies. On June 15,
2001, the PNC walks out (photo, top)
of parliament in protest of Doodnauth Singh being Attorney General.
Then on June 21, Mr. Hoyte refuses to associate the PNC's elections
slogan of "Slow Fire" with the tone of anti-government
demonstrations and violence perpretrated against Indians on the
East Coast, as a Stabroek News editorial ("Fire") opined.
According to Mr. Hoyte: "The People's
National Congress Reform adopted the slogan 'slow fire' during
the last elections campaign. Obviously, with an intent to mislead
you have misdescribed it as "slow fire/more fire", twisting
the slogan...If the slogan 'slow fire' upsets you, so be it: it
remains. The Party rejects the hypocrisy inherent in your
claim that the slogan may possibly have 'inspired some of the
fiery mayhem that the country has witnessed since March19th.'"(see
Stabroek News, June 21, 2001.)
Ali, murdered. Right, crime protest.
Eventually, the PNC joined with the PPP after the Dialogue and
called for calm. The street violence stopped, but violence crimes
continued especially against Indain businesses. One of them was
Rahamat Alli of Brickery, EBD, who was shot 3 times and killed
although he posed no threat to the gunmen. (Photos,
above) On June 29th, the police
commissioner (Mr. Laurie Lewis) stated that "a
clear pattern of criminal activities designed to create a climate
of instability in the country" was underway. The PNC (Hoyte)
rejected this, calling it "unprofessional and irresponsible"
on the "Come Home to Roger" TV program, hosted by Roger
Moore. Note extract from a press release (July 3):
On Friday last (June 29, 2001), the Commissioner
of Police issued a press release which
contained some outrageous and dangerous allegations. The sum total
of what he said and
implied was that citizens of African descent were in a conspiracy
to attack and rob citizens
of Indian descent, with a view to creating what he called ‘a
climate of instability in the
In support of his monstrous allegation, he listed eleven (11)
alleged incidents of armed
robbery committed during the month of April and June 2001. With
respect to nine (9) of
these incidents, he claimed that they had been committed by ‘afro
(With respect to the other two (2) incidents, he said that these
were committed by masked
men, leaving the inference to be drawn that these were also afro
Guyanese men!) These
alleged incidents, disparate though they were, he saw as evidence
of a conspiracy to
attack citizens of East Indian ancestry and destabilize the country.
The Commissioner’s press release is irresponsible, unprofessional
and calculated to
promote racial tension, hostility and hatred. The conclusion which
the Commissioner sought
to draw from these selective cases reflects either a startling
ignorance, bordering on
stupidity or deep-seated, inveterate malice. He invoked in aid
of this dangerous nonsense
vague phrases like ‘intensive professional work’ and
‘several intelligence sources’. This is
most unlikely since the recent British study of the Police Force
revealed that it that no
intelligence gathering capability.
In his press release, the Commissioner reserved his most scandalous
attack for ‘certain
media houses’. He boldly averred that these media houses
are complicit in the alleged
plot to pit the Black communities against the East Indian communities
in our country.
The Commissioner’s press release constitutes a venomous
libel against the entire Black
community in the country. It is calculated to create a situation
in which tensions, suspicions
and racial hatred are likely to escalate. It has the potential
for promoting racial conflict
and creating the very instability the Commissioner talks about.
I believe that Mr. Lewis has been stung by mounting public criticism
of his stewardship
and of his unlawful clinging to office he has reached the statutory
retirement age. Hence the
motive in this press release, but, undoubtedly, within recent
years the reputation of the
Force has deteriorated badly, and certain elements in the Force,
for example, the notorious
Black Clothes Squad have been running amok, abducting and murdering
impunity. Mr. Lewis could not be happy presiding over a Police
Force which contains a
section that could properly be described as Murder Incorporated...
I call on all citizens of goodwill to note the grave and dangerous
ethnic terrors that could
arise from the Commissioner’s gross libel on the Black Community
in the country."— PNC Congress Place
ARRIVAL OF THE ESCAPEES-Taliban
On Mashramani Day in 2002,
while the country supposedly is in a festive spirit, a plan by
the Black extremists is staged; five hardcore criminal (Shawn
Brown, Dale Moore, Andrew Douglas, Troy Dick, and Mark Fraser)
escaped, killing one prisoner officer (Troy Williams, shot by
Shawn Brown) and severly njuring another (Roxanne Winfield). According
to an ex-Black Clothes officer, a "prominent lawyer"
faciliated getting a gun to the escapees in prison (see KN June
2005). On February 28, the escapees staged their first attack:
on the Parsaram store in Annandale.
officers; Roxanne Winfiel, injured and Troy Willaims, killed.
Right, the very first attack by the escapees: Vivekanand Parasram
and his shop staff in Annandale.
It is not true that the
PNC is behind this jailbreak. What is true is that the immediate
crime blitz that followed, helped to further destabalize Guyana
in the interest of the PNC. Buxton, the home of Andrew Douglas,
became the staging ground and hideaway haven for the gunmen. By
March 2002, relations between the PNC and PPP strained so much
that the PNC, always in control, called for a "pause."
It acused the government of going-slow on certain agreements.
With diplomacy faltered, this only left the country vulnerable
for the wreck that the extremists-criminals would create.
poster of escapees; middle, Shawn Brown and Troy Dick; right,
Supt. Leon Fraser, killed by Brown etc.
On April 2, the head of the Police Target Special
Squad (aka "Black Clothes"), Superintendant Leon Fraser,
is killed when gunmen in a car at the Linden/Soekdyke Highway
opened fire as he approached the vehicle. The gunmen (Shawn Brown
and Compton Cambridge included) then fled into the jungle. The
police was lured there; it was never intended to be a gunfight,
only a trap to kill Fraser, who was an enforcer for a US embassy
officer that sold visas to locals, and an imprtant part of a squad
accused of extra-judicial killings of primarily Black men.
This is an extract from a Stabroek News (4/08/2002)
death and that of Shaka Blair at the hands of the police in Buxton
on Saturday have again ignited the burning controversy of extra-judicial
killings. When Fraser died there was a sense of dread that the
police would respond in kind and the circumstances of Blair's
killing have added further weight to those fears. It can become
a never-ending cycle of deathly violence if not reined in. The
government and the police force cannot be oblivious to the wealth
of evidence that extra-judicial killings are occurring with impunity."
Months later, a letter titled 'Who Killed Supt
Leon Fraser" appeared from ex-PNC foreign minister, Mr. Rashleigh
E. Jackson; "
It was good to read that the police were able to gain possession
of caches of arms stashed in safe houses and more recently in
a pick-up seized as a result of a vigilant army patrol. I note
that the police were able to connect a number of the weapons with
crimes committed, including murders. What I would like to know
is whether among those guns was the one which was used in the
murder of Senior Superintendent Leon Fraser. If not, are the police
still searching for that gun and the murderer?" (See SN 12/21/2002).
After Fraser is killed on April 2, he is buried on April 6. That
very morning, the TSS went into Buxton for revenge. It barges
into the home of Shaka Blair (who had a gun but did not fire [see
photo]) and separating him from his wife and child, shoots
him. Apparently Blair did not know his attackers were the police,
and was calling the Vigilance police station. Calls for his phone
records to be made public has thus afr been denied. Blair is taken
in a police vehicle (still alive) and killed before he gets to
the hospital. The extremist group naturally became furious; Shaka
Blair was a key member of a loose organization called the People's
Liberation Movement (PLM), consisting of essentially young Buxtonian
males who aligned with the extremists outside of Buxton, and who
received some rabid political lectures (mostly in Black resistance,
black power, and how Indians/PPP were controlling Guyana) along
with training in arms (by two former senior army members). Buxton
backlands was one of the training ground, but another apparently
over the West Coast of Demerara in Den Amstel (See Kaieteur News,
June 2005). For more on Shaka Blair, refer to a Public
Inquiry and The Shaka Blair Killing by Eusi Kwayana
The Handbills Circulated
At the funeral for Mr. Blair which was organized
by the PNC, the first (titled "Shaka Lives") of a series
of handbills proclaiming the need for violence, the strenghth
of Blacks in resistance, and capitalic endeavors of Indians (and
Portuguese), was handed out. In "Shaka Lives" the signature
of the handbill reads "the Five Freedom Fighters,"referring
to the 5 escapees who were present at the funeral. It was not
the work of the escapees or the people of Buxton; it was the work
of the "masterminds" that reside outside of Buxton.
This handbill attempted to do two things; first, it apologised
for the death and wounding of the Black prison officers on Mash
day; secondly, it announced the escapees as liberators of the
Afro-Guyanese "nation" just as sea bandits (Sir Walter
Raleigh, Sir Francis Drake and Sir Henry Morgan), all men with
noteriety, did for England. It is interesting that White men (sometimes
considered as synonymous to slave masters) were being heralded
and not, say, the legendary African Zulu leader, Shaka. (For an
actual handbill, see the "Andrew
People will be "killed, kidnapped and burnt
to death, no remorse nor tolerance" will be shown for those
who align with the police." —FIVE FOR FREEDOM handbill
whcihw as sent to numerous PPP officials.
Pressure mounted with the second handbill ("Five for Freedom");
they refused to apologise tp anyone and instead it reflected an
intensified program from the militants-criminals, to include the
targeting of Black policemen (seen as slaves to the PPP) and government
officials. On April 14th, as a criminal was being buried, one
of his friends decided to get revenge. The
selected target was a police who may have found out something
about the triple-executions (Barrans, Jagdeo), which atrracted
him personally. On April 15, Compton Cambridge shot detective
Harry Kooseeram (photo, left) as he headed for work. One person
in the media noted that the "killing of Sgt. Harry Kooseram
is racially motivated. It's one for one. It's hit back time..."
(see Guyana Chronicle, Sept 11, 2002.)
On May 11, the extremists decided on another
fatal order. Six gunmen (included Compton Cambdridge) invaded
and killed Ramdeo and Mahadai (Sita) Persaud (photos, below),
shopowners in Annandale. There were executed. Their deaths would
be just two of many to occur amongst business people, simultaneosuly
acquiring money to finance the extremists' fight against the government
and, secondly, to provoke a respose from the Indian community.
and Ramdeo Persaud, executed by the 'excapees' to stir
Indian respose or civil war on race lines
On May 30, the fight against law-enforcement
officials was taken to a new level when at least two carloads
of gunmen sprayed the Alberttown Police Station with bullets.
One policeman (Andy Atwell) died and numeroius injured. Across
Georgetown and East Coast especially, police stations began to
secure themselves; gate were padlocked and guard rails erected.
Vigilance police station is another to be sprayed with machine
guns. However, on June 6th, the police, acted on a tip-off, confronted
the dangerous Compton Cambridge in Nabacalis. He is killed in
Alberttown police station, sprayed by gunmen in cars. Right, slain
policeman Andy Atwell.
This did not prevent one of the largest of operations by the gunmen
undertaken; on June 13th, coming in from the sea, more than a
dozen heavily armed gunmen descended on Vergenoegen (West Coast
Demerara), attacking the Ng-See-Quan family who owned a sawmill,
etc. Businesswoman Claudette Ng-See-Quan (photo,
left) is shot an killed. Her husband Hilton, once a PNC
supporter, had switched allegiance to the PPP. The use of the
sea by the bandits to carry out such sophisticated operations
successfully, was a new aspect in their operation.
By July, Guyana was under the throes of the militants-criminals.
The PNC still did not attempt to curtain the level of violence;
the government seemed weaker with each passing day. On July 3rd,
a march was organized by a group of people from the upper East
Coast to the city. It ended before the Office of the President.
The march was organized on this date when CARICOM heads of state
were in Georgetown attending their their 23rd Meeting.
Storming of the Office
of the President
Before the march began, a rally was held at which Mr. Philip Bynoe
(photo, left), a PNC candidate for the 2001 elections, and Mr.
Robert Corbin amongst others, spoke. The march was not an official
PNC march, but it had the blessings of the party. At this rally,
Mr. Bynoe openly suggested revolt; ..." The PNC did not upbraid
him or distance itself from Bynoe. (See SN editorial, "Responsibility,"
In its statement supporting Bynoe, the PNC/R
said that Bynoe was singled out as leader of the processions and
that the ruling PPP/C "and its propaganda machinery have
been attempting to distort the events which transpired that day
to suggest that it was more than an illegal demonstration which
got out of control."
Bynoe is a public figure. He served for several years as a Member
of Parliament of this country and has served and continues to
serve in several prominent national organisations. He has also
recently re-established his membership of the People’s National
Congress REFORM."—The PNC on Bynoe, July 8,
PNC itself had said its job was to "depose" the democratically
elected PPP, as opposed to "replacing" it. Or: the PNC/R
is "in the business of trying to get the government of the
day out of office" and to have itself "as the alternate
government". "We stand firm that
it is our business to expose...oppose...and depose...them (the
Government). We will continue to do that and we see nothing
wrong with that. We are not saying that we will do so by force
of arms.""(There is nothing wrong with) any statement
which says that as an opposition party, we are attempting to remove
the Government..." —Trotman (left), 6/21/ 2002
, Raphael Trotman in 1997
stormers being arrested. Top left, a car is overturned and set
ablaze; right, one of the Regent Street stores (Payless) is set
PNC disassociated itself from the stroming of the President's
Office, whihc resulted in two people being shot and killed. But
Raphael Trotman broke ranks and said; "The party should claim
equal responsibility. [The events] were not planned by the party
nor the party’s executive, but the party cannot divorce
itself from the events..." "The party has to be brave
enough to accept some responsibility in terms of the loss of life
and all the persons affected; they are consequences which flowed
and therefore we cannot pretend we were in no way involved. The
entire episode is regretted, particularly the loss of life and
property."—Trotman, July 4.
By July 4, more reports began to unfold of the city havoc. One
was that an Indian girl was forced to perform oral sex on a group
of Afro-Guyanese men on Regent Street (by ACME studio).
more disturbing on Friday was the confrontation that occurred
on the East Coast after a Buxtonian was suspected of committing
a gross robbery and attack on a Non Pareil woman. The woman was
terrorised, robbed and chopped. After raising an alarm, nearby
residents chased the attacker to a house in the village of Strathspey.
The occupants of the house refused to surrender the attacker and
more than that, word was sent to the village of Buxton and dozens
of Buxtonians descended on the area ostensibly to free the attacker.
Why would the capture of a suspected criminal move Buxtonians
to go to his `rescue’? After the police had apprehended
the attacker and left the area, it was then that things got hairy.
Buxtonians attacked Strathspey villagers who they believed had
been responsible for the apprehension of the attacker. The Buxtonians
said that they were fired at first. The villagers vehemently denied
Stabroek News, July 8, 2002
Ann Latchman, who was robbed and chopped by a Buxtonian.
Comments on July 3: Thinking places insulated from political interference?
"Guyana is a social powder-keg. It is a
veritable charnel house of the skeletons of persistent poverty,
juxtaposed with the rampaging material aspirations of a society
force-fed with the consumer adverts of daily television and newspapers.
For too many of the ordinary fold, their attention is circumscribed
by the neighbourhood of their material miseries; and the traditional
political parties do not routinely, conceptually or physically,
reside in that neighbourhood. Privileged people don’t march
and protest; their world is safe and clean and governed by the
selective application of laws designed to keep them happy.
It appears to me that the key lies in finding
‘Thinking Places’ insulated from the heavy hand of
political interference, or concerns about the likely political
fortunes of any individual political faction. In any such thinking
place no government can interpret its electoral mandate as one
that means: “Shut your mouth and let me decide. Anything
you suggest must be suspect since you only want to get me out
of Government!” In such thinking places, the exploration
of dialogue can revisit the concept of Central Government being
synonymous with Central Authority that could ignore the transparency
of consultation in decision making. In such thinking places, there
can be a paramountcy of consultation protocols in matters of direct
importance to ordinary folk."—Haslyn
Parris, commenting on July 7, 2002.
"The worst sin that leaders can commit is to manipulate innocents
and the marginalised in our society to be cut down by bullets
while they fiddle the same old tunes in the safe havens of their
political lairs, while their puppeteers, across the entire spectrum
of our political landscape, use their access to the media houses
and their mobile loud speakers to manipulate others, but then
beat a cowardly and hasty retreat when the going gets tough.
As an old soldier whose life, along with those
of my many comrades in arms, had been placed on the line for over
three decades, in what we proudly and patriotically considered
to be SERVICE to our country, and who as Chairman of the Elections
Commission for the 2001 General and Regional Elections, saw at
first hand the 'hodge podge' approach by the highest forum of
this land to the planning and streamlining of the democratic process
called national and regional elections, I also appeal to leaders
in civil society who have a voice to speak up, speak out and ensure
that our elected representatives at every level, listen attentively,
act decisively, and implement impartially, those measures designed
to turn us away from the brink and to navigate a course that is
truly in the interest of Guyana and all Guyanese."—Major
General (retd) Joseph G. Singh, July 5, 2002. See his
Drawing the Line
Benschop and Waddell Factors
In the city the marchers are greeted by Mark Benschop, carrying
his bullhorn. After the melee, warrants are issused for Mr. Bynoe
and Mr. Benschop. Mr. Bynoe flees and is still unheard from but
Mr. Benschop has been arrested and is currently in prison, awaiting
a second trial—the first ended in a mistrial when all but
one of the jurors found him not-gulity. Here is the opinion of
his wife, Maria Benschop:
"One would think that treason being the highest charge in
the land such a trial would be given prompt attention. At any
rate it was clearly displayed to the world that no evidence of
treason could be found. This point was made explicitly clear to
the jury. The lone dissenting juror obviously had his own reasons
for voting in the manner that he did. Today Mark continues to
languish in prison on a trumped up and politically motivated charge,
denied a hearing in court at each new assizes. Justice delayed
is certainly justice denied" See SN 7/01/2005.
The incarceration of Benschop may have been the
culmination of many things; the Buxton extremists program, and
the caustic statements on TV included. below is a list of controversial
sayings Mr. Benschop has been accused of saying by th Stabroek
News (see SN 11/30/2002).
In your reply to Mr. Jonathan St. Clair’s letter on Wednesday,
November 27, 2002, you alleged that I regularly broadcast the
most ethnically inflammatory statements. I challenge you to prove
this statement. Cite when and where and what the statement was.
It is unprofessional of you to make such an observation without
the pertinent facts to back it up.
Maria Benschop for
The report number three of the Guyana Election Commis-sion Media
Monitoring Project states as follows:
“Straight Up with Mark Benschop also tends towards sensationalism,
innuendo, accusations and negative references. His own views are
made very clear. He is vehemently opposed to the incumbent government
and the PPP/C. He does not recognize its legitimacy and repeatedly
states that we have no government, illegal Ministries and no President.
Benschop and his guests frequently espouse the PNC/R viewpoint.
He does have guests that disagree with him on the show (on February
6th he had Mr. Lumumba of the PPP/C appear, and he has offered
to show a PPP/C tape if they send it to him.) Also, more than
some of the other talk show hosts that we discuss in this report,
he will allow some criticism of himself and his views. While he
repeatedly invites other PPP/C leaders on his show as guests and
makes a point of saying that they refuse to come on or are afraid
to come on, this may be disingenuous as he will, on occasion,
treat his guests badly, disrespectfully and unfairly. Following
is a small sample of such incidents.
* On January 22, 2001, Mark Benschop made numerous criticisms
of the government. He also charged that Trinidadians are coming
to Guyana to vote. He also said that PPP/C is manipulating the
voter database. No proof, no facts and no substance were offered
to back up any of these allegations.
* On January 24th he stated, with no proof, that a mini bus had
been seen last night in the Mahaicony area distributing guns.
* On January 26th, he said that maybe folks in Mahaicony could
* On January 29th, 2001, a caller began to sing a song with lyrics
that included the following words: “Dese don’t cry
no more, government is run by fassy-hole.” Rather than cut
off the caller making these pejorative and denigrating statements,
Benschop allowed it to occur and did not make any statements discouraging
such bad taste and intolerance.
* On January 30th, the show was rife with allegations concerning
corruption and Minis-ter Shaik Baksh. No evidence was presented
concerning the corruption and no response or opposing views were
aired. Over the next weeks, Benschop repeatedly and continuously
repeated these allegations (January 31st February 1st February
5th, February 7th, February 8th, February 9th, February 13th,
February 14th, and February 16th). He did offer to allow Baksh
on his show to refute the allegations (he offered him an hour
on the show after January 31st), but the simple fact that Mr Baksh
has yet to appear to defend himself is hardly a license to repeatedly
raise unsubstantiated allegations with no attempt at investigation,
balance or a different perspective.
* On the show on January 30th, he aired, as part of his programme,
a paid political ad for PNC/R.
* On January 31st, Benschop discussed allegations that Minister
Rohee was part of a deal to grant a casino license opposite Le
Meridien Pegasus, and he asked the Minister to respond to the
charges. He offered no evidence.
* On February 13th, Benschop revealed on the show the phone number
of a caller who had been abusive to him. While he might have been
justified at cutting such a caller off, it appears unprofessional
and even potentially dangerous to expose a citizen to retaliation
or abuse from Benschop’s viewers.
* On February 14th, Benschop accused the “regime”
of forcing people to commit suicide.
This was during an interview with a young woman who alleged she
had been treated unfairly by the Ministry of Housing and had suicidal
thoughts. No response from the ministry was aired.
There is a rumor that the PPP may release Benschop
from prison in 2006 if they feel they need someone to stir things
up, to scare Indians into voting PPP.
second controversial talk-show host that was seen as being linked
to the anti-government march is Rondal Waddell
(left, photo) who was tried for arson
(for supposedly stealing a Bucket from a gas station), but was
found not guilty. Waddell was a PNC candidate in 2001. Supporting
Waddell, the ACDA noted that the government was taking full advantage
of the support it has received from the recently concluded CARICOM’s
meeting to place severe repression on Blacks. Further, that "this
apparent attractive option of political repression would only
worsen th e already dangerous situation in the country and reinforce
the African Guyanese will to continue their struggle for socio-economic
liberation." July, 9, 2002. Note: In October 2005, after
the adbudtion of 2 Guysuco workers in the Buxton area and after
two Indians are killed and burned in their car by gunmen, Waddell
says on his program that these acts are right, and should not
be stopped. He is pulled from the air.
Above, Ronald Waddell, 2001 PNC candidate and controversial talk-show
Violence is for the "general good of the society"—PNC
Vice Chairman Vincent Alexander
On July 10th, the two PNC supporters who were
killed are buried. The very next day, Adrian London, a policeman
who helped to restore order at the OP, and who was threatened,
and who was the one to bring back Andrew Douglas from Surinam
in 2000 to stand trial, was killed. He was targeted by three of
the deadliest of crimianls; Shawn Gittens, Romel Reman, and Kwame
Pindleton. London was also the policeman one who arrested Romel
Reman for the murder of cambio dealer Neville
Sarjoo a few years before. The message was very clear from
the extremist-criminal quarter. And this, incredibly, was well-supported
by the language and ideology of the PNC regarding the use of violence
example, the PNC Vice Chairman (left),
Vincent Alexander, in an interview, made it clear that
it was necessary to attack Indians;"Whilst
I do not look forward to paying a high price the fact is in the
long term these things add up to the general good of the society...
What I find is that even though these instances
may be painful and costly, the accumulation of all these interactions
and conflicts may result in a state of affairs, which is far better
than that which existed before." (See Stabroek
News, August 14, 2002.)
PPP CONGRESS 2002 at Rose Hall Overshadowed
by Escapees "Mission"
As if there was not enough violence, the
gunmen decided to assert themselves by showing all that they could
get to the government any time. For this, the descended on Rose
Hall, where the PPP was keeping its congress. According to Dr.
Luncheon, "Our intelligence did not
provide us with the merest inkling that an outrage of such a magnitude
was being planned and was going to take place at that time...We
must concede that we are dealing with a fairly well organised,
well-oiled machinery led by people with some skills" (see
July 25, Chronicle).
left, police outpost where there were no fire arms. Middle, spot
where unarmed policeman Pardat was taken and EXECUTED.
The gunmen including the escapees were making an extraordinary
second policeman (Outar Kissoon) killed. Right, PPP youth member,
Balram Kandhai, who was killed after teh vehicle he was travelling
in (after leaving the PPP Congress) was shot at. Pardat and Kissoon,
policemen, were not armed and
did not carry sidearms. In other words, they had not even the
option to fight back even if they wanted to. This is PPP policy
With a rabid atmosphere defined by violence,
the PPP was not in control of Guyana. This was very evident when
it approached its Congress on July 20th, in Berbice.Despite the
theme of the Congress, "Defend Democracy: Build on our Successes,"
inside the PPP, the argument between the reformist Section K Cambelville
group (led by Khemraj Ramjattan)
and the die-hard Marxists Leninist (led by Janet jagan) over possible
changes in the PPP constitution, to reduce its strong imprint
of democratic centralism and Marxist-Leninism in favor of more
democracy, got no attention except that they, the PPP, voted against
changes. They did not want to "Balkanize" the party
or the country. Ramjattan was not given a chance to present his
views to the delegates there. Before it ever started, the entire
congress seemed a farce. Yet, Clement Rohee
had this to say; "People never rejected
us because of what we stood for. People accepted us for what we
stood for, and the collective wisdom of the delegates of Congress...
they said that we should continue in this vein. Everything was
done in an open and democratic manner.”—(see SN 7/25/2002)
While the PPP were occupied, more than a dozen
gunmen (most likely Kwame Pindleton, Shawn Gittens, Romen Reman,
Dale Moore, Shawn Brown, Andrew Douglas, Leroy Lowe, Mark Phillips,
Akeem Hack [Chip Teeth], and Melroy Goodman) travelled to Rose
Hall and spent two hours unchallenged, robbing and executing in
the grandest show of criminal revolt. The PPP party was very lucky
that day; for it has been said that two fishermen gave the wrong
direction to the gunmen, leading them away from the Chandisingh
High School where the Congress fete was in progress. When the
gunmen were through, nevertheless, two policemen were executed,
one PPP youth member (Kandhai) was killed, and an old villager
died of heart attack from the effects of the barrage. Yet, PPP
General Secretary, Donald Ramotar, was brazen enough to declare
the congress a "success."
Violence and Crime
Blitz by Escapees—Attack on Chester
After the PPP Congress in July 2002, Guyana was
stalled. It was obvious that an armed struggle was being waged.
Business was slow, the PNC kept silent about crime, and across
the East Coast, villagers turned in early and changed their lifestyle
as a result of the daily attacks. It seemed as if an intension
to overthrow the government or at the least, to destabalise the
coutry to abreaking point, was about to materialized. Police became
a prime target; police stations began to padlock their gates and
erect sandbags. Their vehicles were ambushed and shot at. Meanwhile,
the PNC resisted all calls for the army to become a crime-fighting
unit. They said the constitution did not allow for it, not to
mention soldiers not being trained for this. Soldiers, though
they were jungle-trained, would have problems running through
cane fields and scrambling through trenches!
Buxton, other conflicts were surfacing. Gangs began to swabble
with weapons; women and young girls were being raped. Besides,
the thrill of robbery was overshadowing the supposed political
purpose for some gunmen, and they began to fued with the "masterminds"
in Georgetown, including those who were media people. The original
plan conjured up in 2001 to raise a force of insurrectionists
began to shake. The July 3 fiasco had contributed a damper to
the cause; Bynoe was on the run, Benschop behind bars, and Waddell
watched closely. The men in Brooklyn exporting guns into Guyana
slowed down; the army man who gave training in arms had a few
squabbles with his soldiers.
Crime simply went on, but it became less political and more personal
and entertaining. On July 25th, gunmen Kweme Pindleton and Leroy
Lowe are cornered and killed by the police at UG road. Shawn Gittens
managed to escape.
Singh and hair cut off by a Black bandit with a knife, because
as he said, he didn't like "her kind of people" (Indians).
August 4th, one of themost distinct racist attacks occurred. Ms.
Anita Singh of
Melanie Damishana is robbed by a gang of Black bandits; one cuts
off her long hair with a knife because as he said, he didn't like
"her kind of people" (Indians). On August 24th,
Mr. Vibert Inniss, second in command of CANU, is gunned down as
he bought a newspaper in Buxton (see photo,
On August 7, the family of Edris
Chester (photo, below) is
attacked in a very heinous manner; the two homes are torced and
as those inside attempted to leave, they are shot at by gunmen
from outside. Her son (Brian) and daughter-in-law (Diane Glasgow)
were already targeted by gunmen on April 26. They survived, though
he was injured. The Chester family
was attacked becasue it refused to work in tandem with the gunmen
and spoke out against criminal attacks. The gunmen accused her
of being a police "informer." After the fires, almost
a dozen family members went into hiding.
remains of the Chester homes, properties after being torched in
August 2002 by gunmen. Right, Edris Chester.
too rushed to the door...it was a life and death (situation) and
when I looked out at the stairway to go down the step, that too
was on fire. So I rushed back and went into my bedroom and I went
under my bed and started praying and studying what to do with
my four-year-old grandson who was asleep in the bed." —Edris
Chester, see Chronicle, August 8, 2002
of Andrew Douglas and Annandale Under Siege
August 16th, the first real impact of the death squad or "phantom"
group emerged with the discovery of the body of Andrew
Douglas, one of the five escapees. His body was found in
Farm, on the East Bank of Demerara. Initially, it had been thought
that his colleagues had left him there after a shootout with the
police, or he may have been so injured that his collagues thought
it best to kill him. But he was shot by a death squad who had
confronted the escapees at a popular nightspot on Shariff Street.
This was verified by George Bacchus, an informant for the squads.
Douglas was buried in Buxton. Before the official
ceremony, the body was taken to the "Gulf" aback Buxton
where it was viewed by selected people, draped with the national
flag, and sent to the church.
Gale street, where youths went rampaging on the day of Douglas'
On his funeral day, traffic was held up (photo,
top left), and youths from Buxton—about 40, descended
on neighboring villages that have had to bear much of the crunt
of crimes from Buxton. In one attack that day on a 14-yr-girl,
she barely escapes being assaulted sexuallly;: "The
others, about ten in number, surrounded her 14-year-old daughter
who was seated in a hammock and began stripping her of silver
and gold jewellery. The girl quickly offered to remove the jewellery
as attempts were made to get into her bosom and trousers. Following
appeals by her mother and a member of the group not to harass
her she was spared further physical harm."
—(See SN 09/01/2002)
and Stratsprey have come in for numerous criminal attacks and
often, life in these vilagers were severely altered as tension
between the gunmen and the security forces prevailed. There were
days when classes were cancelled (photo,
above), when no one sold at their stalls (photo,
left above), and when the police came into these villages
sometimes during "raids" (side
photo). Above re a few photos of these scenes. Sometimes
what happens in these villages is extended down the East Coast
to others, especially Non Pareil, Coldingen, and Enterprise.
On August 27th, a number of Non Pariel families
come under attack by a gang of at least 10 armed man, some of
whom were very young criminals. The group included notorious criminals
"Inspector Gadget" (Premkumar Sukraj) and Melroy Goodman,
both rapists. At least two young women were raped, and an old
man (Haroon Rasheed) who was keeping wake for his dead wife, was
doused with gasolene, and set afire. He became blind and died
one week later.
Premkumar Sukraj aka "Inspector Gadget."
Right, house of Haroon Rasheed where he was keeping wake for his
Threat of Travel: Two men are killed
by gunfire as they pass through Buxton on their way back to Berbice,
having dropped off a relative tp the airport. Driver,
DEAD, is slumbed at the front seat.
Vigilance Police Station has One
The lone telephone line at the Vigilance Station, too, 'is perpetually
engaged,' another senior rank stated in annoyance yesterday. But
his colleague pointed out: 'What people must appreciate is that
Vigilance [Police Station] is very busy at this time, because
it [is] close to Buxton...[There are] lots of activities and they
[policemen] got work to do. The men got to investigate cases,
make calls to get statements, we got to work, so I wouldn't deny
that the line is always busy.'"
Stabroek News editorial on the attacks on Non Pareil by Inspector
Gadget, Melroy Goodman, etc., 8/30/2002
September 6th, another policeman, Leyland
October (photo, left) is killed,
as he bought ice-cream for his kids. "Inspector Gadjet,"
Romel Reman, and Shawn Gittens are responsible. A fourth person,
Michael Singh, gave himself up to police, was thereafter released.
Two weeks later on September 25th, after a session of smoking
marijuana, gunmen (two or three, one being Shawn Brown) decided
abruptly to attack Natoo's Liquor
store on Pike Street in Kitty, which was famous for its government-PPP
patrons. They sprayed the bar with gunfire; four people are killed;
race-car driver, Gavin Narine, Joy Arjune,
Lloyd Singh, and a customs broker. About a dozen are injured,
including the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Mr. Dennis
Hanomansingh. This attack was first thought to be political, but
one may debate whether it truly was since it was not a premeditated
attack ordered by the "masterminds." The DPP would resign
later from his post after the PPP refused him protection.
Left, Policeman Leyland, killed by "Inspector Gadget"
aks Prekumar Sukraj, Reman, and Gittens.
L eft, Natoo's bar in Kitty, popular PPP hangout sprayed by Shawn
Brown and pal. DPP, Dennis Hanomansingh (center),
injured, asked for but is refused
protection by the PPP. He would resign later.
Right, Joy arjune, killed.
Guyana mourned, the very next day on September 26 an extraordinary
gang of gunmen (2 dozen), drove by the Vigilance Police Station
and sprayed it with bullets as was done to other police stations.
Fortunately, no one was killed; much of this was due to the high
concrete wall at the front of the station. On October 1st, the
first case of kidnapping involving a wealthy Indian businessman
occurred when auto dealer, Mr. Kamal Seebarran
(left), is abducted. He is
freed after paying a G$17 million ransom.
Seebarran, kidnapped, released after paying 17M ransom. He was
the first busnessman kidnapped.
seemed obvious that money was not only being stolen, but raised
to finance the very campaign undertaken by the militants and gunmen.
More Indian businessmen (e.g., Patrick Seebarran,
see photo below) were attacked.
In addition, Indian professionals considered to be wealthy such
as Mr. Dev Sharma, the executive
director of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry, were
also targetted. Mr. Sharma was kidnapped and taken to Buxton.
He managed to escape in one of the few daring examples (see GIHA
Crime Report for his account).
Patrick Rambarran, owner of Patsan Trading Services (store) on
October 7th, in a crime that reminded one of the Anita Singh hair-cutting
case, Ms. Jean Badrinauth, is beaten
and almost raped by 3 bandits (2 Black, 1 Indian) in her Foulis
home. The two who were Black insisted that
the Indian rape and kill her. He did neither. What this
and the Anita Singh crime indicate is that there is a strong sense
of race (or racial humiliation) amongst the Black criminals who
attack Indian civilains. On October 23rd, Kamaldeo
Ganesh (photo, left) of Bladen
Hall is kidnapped, allegedly sodomised, and tortured. His body
is found in Buxton four days later. His was the first
kidnapped victim who died. Before his execution, Ganesh
was said to have wept, pleading for his life. His wife was given
a mere 15 minutes to provide a ransom.
Kamaldeo Ganesh, kidnapped, allegedly sodomised, turtured, and
killed in Buxton. His wife was given 15 mintues to come up with
A Fatal Mistake: The
of Keishar's, Bramanand "Terry" Nandalall
(jagdeo) is offering you bullets!"—Hoyte
in speech to Buxtonians, October 2002
Before we get to Brama, it is important to mention
that PNC leader, Mr. Hoyte went into Buxton on October 10, and
gave a controversial speech. First, Hoyte, who was being seen
by a small section of the Black community as too soft on the PPP,
had to reaffirm himself. In fact, some Buxtonians booed the leader
upon his arrrival there. In his speech, he did the unthinkable;
he denied that Buxton harbored criminals any differnt from the
rest of Guyana. Instead, he blessed the actions of the gunmen
by saying that their action was part of a "just cause."
Here is an extract from his speech, in whihc he said the PNC was
in solidarity with Buxton because:
it is fashionable for some idiots to say that Buxton is a criminal
village. Buxtonians are criminals, Buxtonians are violent people.....The
People's National Congress and I reject this gross defamation
of the character of the people of Buxton/Friendship."
ask for bread and Jagdeo offers you lead! You look around is he
offering you employment? Is he offering you education and training?
Is he offering you jobs? He is offering you bullets!...The government
has been using the notorious black clothes police to carry out
their nefarious objectives. People with names like `Robo Cop',
`Gangster', `Golden Gun', `Toots', `Bald Head', `Baby Face'......
You don't expect policemen... to have those nicknames. You expect
the criminals to have those names, and the very fact that they
have attracted those synonyms to themselves tells you about the
character of these people...
informer was having a great joke at the expense of the security
forces. But be careful when somebody mounts `Operation Death',
it wouldn't be your death because as I said you cannot be destroyed..........
guns and force cannot pacify Buxton....there is crime throughout
this country, and crime cannot be limited to Buxton."
ancestors left us at Buxton a glorious legacy, it is a legacy
of the triumphs of the human spirit over adversities, it is a
legacy of service, it is a legacy of success" The PPP is
seen as the "new oppressors" to which he said: "...you
will resist them. You have always resisted the oppressors, you
have resisted them today you have resisted them in the past and
you will resist them in the future."
doesn't matter who writes long letters in the newspapers, it doesn't
matter who writes long editorials.., those people can't even find
Buxton on the map but they want to analyse your problems and make
prescriptions and the prescriptions usually are as follows, pacify
Buxton, send in soldiers and police to kill all of you."—Desmond
10, in Buxton
The very week that people searched for Ganesh's
body, Keishar's owner, Bramanand Nandalall
(aka Brama), is chased down Regent and Camp Streets by
a carload of gunmen that included the remaining escapees. Nandalall
responded with his handgun but is eventually kidnapped. Apparently,
he was shot in one of his feet during the melee. By October 27,
with Nandalall kidnapped and kept in a "safe house"
in the city, the gunmen seemed in control. This kidnapping was
the premier talk in the Indian community in Guyana and overseas.
And, interstingly, it became most obvious as with all things in
Guyana, a question of race. It is not true that Blacks did not
want Nandalall freed; many Blacks recognised the danger of the
gunmen and how steadily Guyana was descending towards chaos. Many
were simply tired of what was happeneing, and recognised that
it was blunt wrong. Yet, this is not to say that there was not
a strong sense of unofficial support for the gunmen from others
out of sheer despise for the PPP.s of Guyana's society.
Much of what happened to Nandalall as he was
kept captive has been speculated upon. But on this weekend, trained
killers entered into Guyana. Men who had already gathered adn
studied information not only on the criminal network but aboout
the very city and some East Coast villages. On this weekend, the
criminal-extremist group inside and outside of Buxton made a fatal
error; they assumed, given how quickly they had dominated the
landscape via ciminal activities, that their program was being
granted a major boost. Instead of eliminating Nandalall, they
assumed negiotations with the businessman would result in more
finance. Further, October 27 was Dale Moore's birthday and to
celebrate, he entered Buxton and smoked marijuiana etc. The "masterminds"
outside of Buxton could not stop this, partially because it was
just impossible...and given the capture of Brama, they may have
thought all was fine. But this was a fatal error of the entire
campaign—possibly the most fatal apart from actually having
such a campaign.
By the time Moore arrived back into the city
early next day, death was marked for many of the players in the
kidnapping. Nandalall managed to free himself. He escaped. Trained
marksmen from overseas were already inside Guyana ready to retaliate.
Six gunmen would be killed including Dale
Moore and Mark Fraser, two prison escapees. But it was
more than the deaths that bothered people, especially those who
approved of the criminals, even silently. It was obvious that
marksmen, imports, were involved. People speculated, naturally.
And people believed. Two other accomplices are killed, one who
was with Dale Moore (McPherson); the other (Delon Nelson) was
found in front of the "safe house" yard.
Moore and another man are killed in Lamaha Gardens;
Toney Singh is executed and his body is found in Le Repentir
cememtery. Most likely he was killed and dropped there, still
wearing his bulletproof vest etc. Lancelot Roach (son of a senior
policeman who's in charge of communications with the Guyana Police)
and Mark Fraser executed by snipers in Annandale road. PHH 7248
Rocah car. Frank Solomon (ex cop)
shot in Annandale market road as gunmen tried to carjack his vehicle.
He died in the hospital.
For more details on the Brama escape, please see The
Brama escape and the death of Two Escapees
Green car: Two bodies shot by marskmen,
snipers; right is Mark Fraser, escapee. His head is drawn back.
Driving on left hand is Roach who is slumped over on Fraser. At
least 16 bullets were fired on the windshield. More to other parts
of the vehicle. A young lady, Candace Lowe, who was in the back
seat escaped unharmed. Right: white car: this was used by at least
three mysterious gunmen who claimed they were police.
According to the police, the dead men had in their possession,
two assault rifles - an AK-47 and one M70, one `Mosberg’
12-gauge shotgun with a screw-on rack to store ammunition, 310
rounds of 7.62 x 39 ammunition, 25 12-gauge cartridges, 11 magazines
for the rifles, one pair Bushnel night vision goggles, a cellular
phone, a pair of handcuffs, a GDF camouflage shirt, two pairs
of sneakers, one pair of slippers, two wigs, a tub in which the
ammunition was stored, a quantity of clothing, a Holy Bible and
a syringe with needle. (See
and Books—the Letal Combination: Molotov cocktails and/or
channa bombs, magazines, are some of the finds. Books used to
teach the gunmen about Black resistance etc., and a sense of a
Black god, are The Antichrist 666, the Illumanati 666 (Vol 1),
a book on Marcus Garvey, and the Holy Bible. This would have been
read from a perspective that creation began in Africa, and that
whatever was missing in the King James version, would ahve been
touched upon in the Illumanti 666.
The Phantoms Step up
the Killings—Kills many including Inspector Gadget:
The Brama escape and the death of the seven on Oct 28 dented the
atmosphere amongst the Buxton gunmen. It also injected new life
into the much embattled and demoralize police force in Guyana.
On October, the rapist Melroy Goodman is
killed. Unfortunately, the police also shoot and kills
a bystander (Ramdyal Dasai) of Enterprise.
He was mistaken for Inspector Gadget because the two rapists were
known to work together. It was Goodman who torched Wayne Bristol
alive in his vehicle on Company Road, Buxton a few days before.
Bristol was from St. Vincent and had only been in Guyana for about
1 week, but his parnter (who escaped) was considered a snitch
by the Buxton gunmen and targeted. Bristol happened to be in the
wrong place at the wrong time.
And, as in their cat-and-mouse game, the gunmen, angered after
the Brama escape, wanted revenge. On October 30, about five young
gunmen (some in teens) abducted one Motilall
(Uncle Jinga) of Annandale. They called for a 20M ransom
not becaue they wanted money, but becasue theyu wanted to torment
and humiliate the man's family. Jinga was severely tortured by
the youths, some of who had smoked up. He is shot and killed,
the body dumped. One of the things missing from the media reports
about Jinga (including the series of articles by Freddie Kissoon)
is pointing to a possible reason for Jinga to be taken. Jinga
was well-known; he worked lands behind Buxton, land that some
thought was his but which, apparently, he came to take over because
their owners resided overseas. But this was not the real problem;
apparently, he tried to get lands that might have beloned to old
Black Buxtonians...simply by paying the rates and taxes. In Guyana,
what goes on in local offices in teh coutry is anyone's guess.
Jinga had been warned; Jinga over the years, had developed, allaegedly,
another reputation besides being a farmer who employed Black Buxtonians.
On Diwali night (Nov 4), the phantom opened fire
and killed 5 men in the city; Otheneil Embrack, Derrick Torrington,
Andrew McPherson, Basdeo Dyal, and Oliver Springer. of Sophia.
On November 6, Amernauth Meerah is shot several times by unknown
gunmen on the East Coast Public Road. He survived after jumping
into a trench…and later goes to TT for medical treatment.
On November 12, Randolph Chapman called `Super Cat’ was
discovered dead on Company Road, Buxton. Most likely killed by
on November 14, a big kill occurred when the elusive "Inspector
Gadget" (also Amar Gobin) aka Premkumar Sukraj of Leonora,
the alleged fisherman, is gunned down in the Middle Road/La
Penitance area. He was shot at least twice at the back of the
head and from its side. Job done by phantom. Big sigh of relief
from the Guyanese community, especially the women. On November
23, a big shooting spree takes place in Buxton. When it's over,
one gunman was found dead and a GDF soldier (Private
Ryan Thompson, photo, left)
was inadvertently shot and wounded in his head. He is air-dashed
to Brazil for treatment.
Above, Private Ryan Thompson of
teh GDF, shot in Buxton.
On November 28, the police catches up with Romel
Reman in Subryanville home, but he managed to escape. He
and a partner had just committed a robbery and his partner was
injured; the partner died. As expected, the gunmen strike back.
On December 3, as the X-mas season started, a gang of some 12-15
gunmen (most are teens, a new tier of gunmen) carried out large-scale
robbery on Regent Street stores. This gang included, most likely,
rapist-gunman Mark Gittens, escapee Shawn Brown, Mark Phillips
(aka Big Batty Mark), Adrain Green, and Charles Grant (Piggy Mouth).
Constable Quincy James was gunned
down as he marshalled traffic unarmed at the junction.
He was shot at least 10 times. He was 18 years old. The very nexy
day, with the youngest cop killed by gunmen, an army patrol breaches
its orders and goes beyond the Buxton patrol zone. It heads to
Good Hope and finds a bullet-proof vehicle and three men. This
is the first time that the public comes face to face with a phantom
squad. This was not, of course, the only squad.
Top, right 18-yr-old
Quincy James, unarmed, shot at least 10 times by gunmen during
melee as he directed traffic.
Area on Regent Street where
he was killed.
Good Hope Trio,
Yohance Douglas, and Children Who Protested against the Army
The three men are: Shaheed
Khan (aka Roger Khan), Haroon Gahya, and policeman, Sean Belfield.
The vehicle they were found with carried bullet-proof windows
and inside was an arsenal of high-powered weapons, night-vision
goggles and a laptop computer capable of intercepting cellular
calls, placing locations of callers, and providing digitized maps
of Georgetown and certain East Coast villages including Buxton.
All there were subsequently freed of all charges later. Their
lawyer argued that the men were not inside the vehicle at the
time of arrest. After the Trio were arrested, they were taken
to Camp Ayenganna and held. A major there tried to intervene for
their release upon back-scene talks with a senior PPP official.
The story gets hot, the PNC moves in. The Major is forced to resign
or stand a possible court martial trial. He resigned. The senior
PPP offical refuses to back him up, despite the promise.
For more details on the
Good Hope Trio, see page: The
Good Hope Trio, Brama, and PNC Concerns
On December 18, Heeraman Sahadeo, a carpenter
of Mon Repos, was kidnapped during a visit to Buxton to collect
wages. Kidnappers had demanded $5M. To date, he is still to be
seen. Many believed he was killed and buried or his body burned.
Over time, more deaths under mystery circumstances occur, while
the eyes of the public tuned in to the Trio and their trial. Still,
East Coast villages were still apprehensive. Then on March 1,
2003, Yohance Douglas, 17 yr-old
UG student, is shot and killed by police
after he and 3 other frineds are followed by a police vehicle,
thinking that the four teens are wanted men. Ronson Grey, 19,
was shot in his jaw, but survived. The crime raised, on again,
the debate on police killings and young Black men being stereotyped
by the police and the public.
photo, Women Against Violencein in the Yohance Douglas march
On March 19, 2003 two men on bicycle attempted
to kidnap an 11-yr-old girl from the Stratsprey Primary School
(photo below). They went into the
schjool and snatched the girl who fought back and was eventually
saved when a car approached, hitting one of the men. The driver
converged on the men. eventually, they took off and headed into
Buxton. After this, we see teh students carrying placard, protesting
against both the governmnent and the army. In fact, the army was
told to leave the vicinity of the village, because Indains felt
the army merely stood by as crimes continued in in their naighborhoods.
Protest against the Army and the Government: Placard Messages
hour protection for children”, “Crime must come to
an end”, “Army must go, police must stay”, “No
children, no future”,
“Government dragging foot on crime situation”
“Indian people must be respected”
“Robbery day in, night in"
Left, Stratsprey Primary School where two mewalked in and grabbed
an 11 year old child, before being chased into Buxton.
Hamilton, proprietor of the Esso gas station at Buxton, killed.
Right, the home of Shawn Brown's parents in Kitty is set on fire
by rival gang members.
On March 21, Brian Hamilton, owner of a gas station
at Buxton, is gunned down by two men who then headed into the
village. This happened despite his cordial relationship with the
people of Buxton. By April 2003, only two escapees remains and
one, Shawn Brown, the only one still visible, was having spats
with other gunmen. One night, four bodies turned up on a road
in Buxton. The home of Shawn Brown parents is torched in April.What
brought him in what another kidnapping that simply should not
have happened: Shawn Brown and otherskidnapped a US personnel,
Steve Lesniak, from the Lusignan golk course. Lesniak is taken
to Buxton and kept in the House of God for a while. He is later
released after, some speculated, after relatives of the man responsible
for security at the US Embassy, offered the ransom.
Obviously, the US government has no policy of
paying ransoms. Instead, on April 13, FBI and CIA opertaive travelled
to Guyana. They are given full access to all police records compiled
on the crime situation. It has been alleged that an ultimatum
was handed to the Guyana government, the Opposition, and the security
forces: deal with the problem of Buxton immediately. Meanwhile,
inside Buxton, gang members fight amongst themselves. On April
23,: Shawn Gittens, known for his rapes and sexual assaults on
women including Black women from Buxton, is killed by members
of the "criminal hardcore subgroup." He had, apparently,
assaulted a member of the group who was attached to the PLM, despite
repeated warming to lay off the women in Buxton. He was shot in
the chest, right temple, upper body, upper right arm, left cheek,
and left and right ears.
May 15, GDF Lance Corporal Shemton Dodson,
is killed during a shoot-out. He was the first and only enlisted
soldier to die. Kidnapped businessman Viticharan Singh, of De
Hoop Mahaica, was at the time held in Buxton. Fugitive, Mark Anthony
Phillips called ‘Big Batty Mark’
was also killed. Back in the US, a US District Court issues a
wanted bulletin for Shawn Brown, for the kidnapping of Steve Lesniak,
a man on the US government payroll. On June 4, the security forces
digs in—and Romel Reman and 5 others
are shot dead. This is widely seen as the security forces
cracking down after the Americans became irated. Also, the army's
attitude had changed after one of its own was killed
Left, the notorious and elusive Romel Reman, who, years ago, was
involved in the shooting death of Cambio dealer, Neville Sarjoo.
The Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA)along
with the ACDA and the PNC/R questioned how all these men could
have been killed; why not was captured? It was obvious, however,
that capture was not on the minds of any police or soldier. Here
is an extract from a press release by the GHRA: “Cleaning
up the criminal situation in Buxton was never going to be easy.
However, press reports on the shooting...raise serious questions
about the intent and the methods employed in this operation. In
particular, the fact that all six died - no one was wounded, no
one gave themselves up and no one was arrested - is simply not
credible. The impression given by the incident is that the joint
operations intended to execute the six men.” —(See
GHRA release, June 5, 2005).
clothes, guns associated with Romel Reman.
Shawn Brown is on
the move, he goes into the city to avoid Buxton. But the police
is there. The next day, on June 5, Shawn
Brown is killed along with his brother-in-law, Delon George,
and Tony Singh (another T. Singh), are killed in a shoot-out with
the army-police. He is the fourth of the five escapees to have
been killed. The fifth, Troy Dick,
may still be at large but most believed he may have done the sensible
thing—leave Guyana. It is not too clear whether he was part
of many of the criminal activites that involved the others. But
the death of Shawn Brown brought the escapees-saga to, arguably,
The Advent of anti-Hindu
What happened after the demise of Shawn Brown regarding the criminals
was much the work of the phantom. Bodies continue to appear across
the landscape of the city and East Coast. But, before one could
end making notes about 2003, one would have to mention the Cycle
of Racial Oppression by Kean Gibson,
a book written suggesting that Blacks in Guyana suffer oppression
under Indians, because Hindus are racists due to their caste legacy.
She sees Hindu ideology as the heart of the PPP repressive manner
of dealing with the Black community. Additionally, she makes the
subtle point that Blacks have to rise up in some manner given
the voting patterns n Guyana. And, in light of this book, it is
easy to see how more young Blacks woudl take up arms against a
government seen as "Indian."
Yet, Kean Gibson did not start this view. It
was given to her by a few Black intellectuals, ex-banking officials
who believe that the PPP (despite its Marxist-socialist leanings)
is headed by Hindus. It was gieven to her by people such as Clerence
Ellis. Here is Mr. Ellis (and ex-PNC/R member Eric Phillips who
left the PNC after the 2001 election) writing in "Power Sharing
for Racial harmony"; "The Hindu
religion justifies inequality. That makes equality of opportunity
as an ideal between Hindus and non Hindus almost impossible. Some
acculturation of the Hindu inequality / exclusivity thinking has
taken place but it surfaces all the time in everyday activities
and is partly responsible for the visceral reaction of African
Guyanese to the prospect of a never ending perpetuation of PPP
rule. Afro Guyanese know instinctively that such rule means dominance,
and that for many Hindus, dominance of those perceived as subordinates
is not unjust."
For more on this book, see Kean
Police Under Siege by Militants-Gunmen:
vehicles that were ambushed. Police on seawall taking up position.
Two memebers of the TSS unit in the city.
by President Jagdeo on influx of guns:
are several sources of weaponry. We think that some may be coming
across borders, especially the Surinamese border. I had mentioned
this to the President of Suriname and he promised a collaboration,
but we have had collaboration between the two police forces...
We think some weapons may be coming in from the States, through
containers or barrels and there are other borders, but specifically
—President Jagdeo, June 8
Sgt. Eon Smith
under fire: Rawle Thomas is killed, Colin Frazer is hospitalised,
as is Sgt. Eon Smith.
George Bacchus: Once a Spy, Once an
George Bacchus's funeral. Center, his brother who was shot down
instead of him. Right, George Bacchus. Good man or bad man?
George Bacchus is more famous that Mickey Mouse
in Guyana. Or was. A classic shady character that was well known
in the underground world of the city, he gathered information
for the death squads—well, according to him. All we know
of him is based on his views. Eventually, when he found
death squad members become trigger happy, accepting money to kill
people for others, he wanted to disassocaite himself from the
group. He must have had run-ins with his previous friends and,
realising that they were after him, tried to lie low. Thing is,
they came one day and instead of killing him, the gunmen shot
and killed his brother Shafeek Bacchus. He was supposed to be
the primary witness in his brother's case, hoping to expose all
the works of the phantoms—but instead, seems to have problem
getting protection. He approaches the US Embassy and spoke to
them. He spoke also to the PNC Leader, Robert Corbin on June 11.
He has PNC-affiliated lawyer Basil Williams draw-up affadavits,
which he signed. (See Affadavits
of George Bachus to the PNC )
Debra Douglas goes free after a year in jail, accquitted of the
murder of George Bacchus
Bacchus gets tangled with the Home Affairs minister,
Ronald Gajraj, whom he says at at the head of the plot, with chief
hit man being Axel Williams, ex-policeman. The he changed his
story, saying he snitched on Minister Gajrag becasue the ninister
did not respond when Shafeek Bacchus was killed. So, he decides
to take an offer proposed to him: make a tape saying you've misled
the public and you'll get 10M and a safe passage out of Guyana.
He makes the tape in his neighbor's home (PPP MP, Shirley Edwards),
but it is not liked. He is asked to make another. meanwhile, he
does nto get the money. He gets half only. Then on June 23, he
is murdered in his bed. The wife of Aston King, Debra Douglas
and a former handyman (D. Reynolds), are charged. She spends one
year in prison after being committed to a High Court trial by
Magistrate Bertlyn Reynolds. But on August 8, 2005, she walks
free after Justice Winston Patterson quashed the order, saying
it was void and of no legal effect; that it was made unlawfully
and in excess of jurisdiction.
What people learned:
1. The Home Affairs minister is tied to the death squads, especially
2. Bodies are dumped behind the Botanical Gardens where there
is a swamp.(Skeletal remains of Andre Ettiena had been found in
3. "Torture House": Auby's Wine Bar at the corner of
Norton and George Street is where many were taken and tortured.
4. The Squad consisted of a number of policemen and ex-policemen.
5. That Axel Williams was assigned to kill a drug lord who was
working with phantom squads.
victims of the phantoms
Minister Gagraj admitted meeting Axel Willaims.
He signed for a renewal of William's gun licence (May 23, 2003),
despite having shot and killed Odle, a vendor. Wiliams was tasked
with killing a drug lord attached to the phantoms. Instead, Williams
told the drug lord of the plans. But before this could be sorted
out between the hit man, the lord, and the man (official?) who
ordered the contract, Williams as killed. Was he killed by the
lord? or by the man who gave him the original task? On December
10, 2003, Axel Williams is killed
while sitting in a car belong to Ashton King. Three men are charged:
Ashton King, the owner of A&D Funeral Parlour; Mark Thomas
of Auby's Wine Bar; and Shawn Hinds. Hinds and Thomas as ex-cops.
But Mark Thomas collapsed at the Brickdam Police Station and is
taken to G/town hospital. On February 1, he is found dead. An
overseas autopsy returns inconclusive. Poison is nto ruled out.
At preliminary inqiry, Chief Magistrate Juliet
Holder-Allen withdrew because she was told her name is
on a "hit list."
claimed to have visited the home of Minister
Gajraj many times, where he saw numerous weapons. He linked
a high-ranking police officer to a local businessman believed
to have close ties to the death squad; the officer provided names
of convicts, and the phantom dusts them off. Public pressure mounted,
especially from the Black community (PNC, ACDA, and a new organ
called People's Movement for Justice) The PCD held a "Rule
of Law" march on April 23, 200, demanding that there
be an inquiry into alleged death squad killings and the link with
the home affairs minister. Most Indians who supported the presence
of the phantom, since they have been the primary victims of crime
(not the only victims though), did not care much about the march
or teh inquiry. In May of 2004, President Jagdeo concedes to a
Presidential Commission of Inquiry. Gajraj goes on leave. On May
8, he says;
would be an injustice to the people of Guyana to serve as the
Minister of Home Affairs without doing all that may be necessary
within the confines of the law in carrying out the tremendous
task at hand, particularly in confronting the organized and seemingly
politically motivated crime wave of 2002-2003 period. I wish once
again to commiserate with all the victims of the crime wave. If
there were anything else within my power, abilities and the laws
of our country that could have been done to prevent the criminal
madness, I would have done so without hesitation. I make no apology
for this. I wish also to salute the bravery of the members of
the Guyana Police Force, other security ranks and members of Community
Policing Groups who fearlessly confronted the well-armed and dangerous
criminals. I share with the mothers, wives and children the loss
and grief of those brave policemen and innocent civilians who
fell to the guns of the criminals. The battle to rid our society
of the criminals and crime goes on!...I wish to declare categorically:
I have never acted contrary to the laws of Guyana. I have always
conducted myself consistent with the powers vested in me by the
Constitution of Guyana." —Home
Affairs Minister Ronald Gajraj.
Claude Chang and Norman McClean, part of the 3-member Commission
of Inquiry, entering the Office of the President with their findings.
In the end the minister is cleared. The inquiry
lasts for months and in the end, comes up short. In a silly move,
the PPP reinstated Minister Gajrag in 2005...but he resigned under
public pressure. In October 2005, he is sent to India as Guyana's
ambassador to the country. For his flight, he travelled through
Venezuela since he cannto enter the US.
Many questions remained unanswered, and one of
them is why didn't the PNC protected Bacchus if they knew he was
the key to really embarrassing the government?
Bacchus "told me to watch my back. He said the boys were
aware that I had called for investigations into allegations
—Moses Nagamootoo, July 3,
2005, saying Bacchus came to his office on 12/02/2003.
The Army Comes to Buxton
in a Controversial Role
The army was playing a controversial role in
Buxton. The Indians, especially on the East Coast, were justified
to ask the army to intercede. After all, if national security
did not include saving the nation from within, what would remain
to defend against attacked from outside? It is a very logical
position, race-bias aside. But race-bias is rarely invisible in
Guyana, and part of the Black community including the PNC resisted
the idea, claiming that there was no law writen to allow such
a move, or that the army members were not trained for such domestic
confrontations. Mr. Raphael Trotman in his "Saving Private
Ryan" article, suggested that they were ill-fit to tranverse
trenches and canefields after bandits. Yet, he talked about them
being trained in jungle warfare and such things. Mr. Trotman ought
to have recognised that if one who had jungle training, was incapble
of wading through trenches and running through canefields after
bandits, then who exactly is trained to do this since this is
not typically police training either. And, what really is jungle
training if trenches and canefields are a problem?
Army in Buxton: job unfinished in a controversial role...aiding
the police in crime fighting in the Buxton area. Left, picture
of army patrol in 2002; right, army patrol in "Operation
Stiletto" in October 2005, after yet another two men are
killed and torched.
The one good thing about
placing the army in Buxton was, apart from providing the much-needed
support for a demoralised police force, was that it was under
a test. The army may not have seen this, not the press
in Guyana because nowhere was this pointed out. The army, held
in suspect by Indians for generations, has been tested whether
it could be relied upon or not to defend Indian interest. The
answer is, controversially, no. Here are three reasons to support
this view: 1. while the army was in Buxton, its members were often
seen idling, relaxing, in a mode quite sedated for crime fighting
and vigilance. A number of the enlisted men have relatives in
Buxton. This compromises teh situation, naturally. 2. A number
of crimes occurred while the army was very much present in the
vacinity. 3. The army breaching its role as in the Good Hope Trio
case. It was never supposed to end up in Good Hope, but it reached
there because it had word about the Trio.Perhaps the army has
a serious problem with the mercenaries. 4. The army coming in
conflict with Indian people elsewhere, accused of being biased
(as happened in Enmore, where citizens claimed army members uttered
racial slurs at them).
2003: The Second
Generation of Gunmen
These attacks carried out in this period is being
done by a new order of seasoned criminals (teens, and young men
in 20s) (note, one was about 16 years old when he was killed by
police) who have come of age in the trade. These young men still
have some allegiance to the "masterminds." The resurgence
of violent criminal activities in August-September 2004 in Non
Pareil-Coldingen area is no surprise. Attacks demonstrate how
precarious and vulnerable residents are to the criminals.
I visited Coldingen after the Christine Sukra
murder. Coldingen is famous for brute attacks by gunmen. An examination
of the landscape makes this possible.Coldingen is like a tidy
wasteland in which at least 80 families reside, some with emptied
houselots between them. Until the death of nine-year-old Sukra,
it was without electricity, and proper roads. In 2002, Prettipaul
Brothers Construction Service which constructed Coldingen housing
scheme, was robbed at least twice; once including a "clean
out" of its hardware bond. Coldingen after six pm when it
gets dark is ideal for attacks. On May 25, 2002, four policmen
in a patrol were lured into an ambush on a road leading into the
backdam. There was no immediate police support; all four were
injured and one (Constable Alleyne) died later. Having fled their
vehicle (some jumped into a trench), the gunmen torched it. At
least one policeman faked being dead, when gunmen stood
over him. Later, one of the olicemen who arrived when backup came,
still did not approach the burning vehicle; “Boy me ain’t
going deh. Dem men shooting at police and we ain’t get proper
gear.” (For more deatils, see story in Kaieteur News, 7/25/2004).
Left, no. 25 STREET LAMP handed over by Prime
minister Sam Hinds after the murder of 9-yr-old
Christine Sukra. Right, one of the few productive PPP ministers,
Minister Sawh, is made to do
the dirty work—visit on a funeral day in the name of the
government. Why does the PPP offer money to crime victims?
n December 2003, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds
told the people in Coldingen that they would get electricity as
soon as it was available. Imagine this, for a village under siege
by gunmen. Acording to the prime minister, " won't make promises
I can't deliver." (See Chronicle 12/14/2003). But in September
2004, a 9-yr-old girl is killed. Only then doe we see 25 street
lamps delivered to Coldingen where it is easy to, in the words
of one of the gunmen, "run through the village." The
PPP seems to have an unoffical crime-fighting policy of giving
handouts to crime victims and appease villagers. When young Sukra
was killed, quite a number of PPP officials scuttled up to Coldingen.
That is how they operate: the younger the victim, the more appearances
are made; the deadlier the crime, the more street lamps or containers-turn-police-outposts
will be donated. PPP officials come to people’s homes to
keep the temperature down until civilians remember that they’re
supposed to be numb. And so, one can find that villagers are as
numb as their countrymen who have been killed.
And this has been the theme of the PPP response to crime; compensation
is for those who suffer criminal attacks; it was given to post-elections
crime victims, and rape victims such as the Lusignan case (below).
And for this compensation, people (victims) are asked to remain
loyal to the PPP, be quiet, and refuse to engage anyone (e.g.,
GIHA or ROAR) who are concerned and may want to stage demonstrations.
In the case with Lusignan, a legal suit was supposed to be filed
against the police, for turning up 2 hours after rapes were committed
etc., and then refusing to venture into the backlands after the
criminals. It has been said, that certain party officials called
the family members and asked them to forego this, that it would
be embarrassing to both the family and party. One could image
that some kind of compensation was made. When thsi becomes the
norm (since 2001), how could people possibly expect the government
to treat the security of citizens as seriously as they ought to?
a home where for two hours 15 young men gang-raped 2 young women,
assaulting their handicapped father, and forced one of the women's
finance to drink out a large bottle of rum and swallow large pieces
of pineapple in acts of sadism. right, the handicapped father
(notice his left hand). Should we be "hush hush" about
it all? And for how long? Who is keeping a count of Guyanese women
spot where Dave Appana was left murdered, stabbed 25 times by
gunmen (blade was left inside the body)
in August 2004. Right, Dave Appana. (Note, Appana lived in Non
Pareil but his wake-funeral was held in Enterprise because
the family was threatened not to return [or be burned alive],
after a few people were arrested by the police. )
in 2004 continues where it left off in 2003; Indians are attacked,
villagers flee their homes. Left is a series of homes in Coldingen.
Top, left, is
the home next to Dave Appana's in Non Pareil. Right is an abandoned
home at the
Embankment of Coldingen, not far from where in October 2005, two
men are burned
in their car. The owner of this livs in Stratsprey. Top (B/W):
newspaper clip says
what some try to deny.
on Hindu religious views
(see Kean Gibson mentioned above) seems to be coming through;
here on left is a picture of Lord
Shiva with a bullet hole (from M70 carbine). Right,
the alter of
Dave Appana cleared by relatives after the murder. It was here
that a cutlass, left by Mrs. Appana
(placed there, symbolic of Mother Durga or Kali a Durga work),
was taken by bandit and used to
chop Mrs. Appana on her hands and head and face.
bullet hole left by M70 rifle used on the Sukra home,
killing Christine Sukra (right). Another
2005: The Buxton "Resistance"
In May 21 2005, while cleaning the trenches at Vigilance, two
Guysuco workers disappear. They are presumed to be dead, probably
burned or buried. The general secretary of the PPP, Mr. Donald
Ramotar had this to say; "How can I be satisfied with
national security when this happens?" (SN 06/12/2005) Ironically,
there is a growing part of the populace that vies this statement
as farcicial; apart from the fact that there has never been any
substantial alternative party in recent years (ROAR has never
been able to do this) to challenge the PPP. Indians vote PPP not
because they favor PPP, but rather, because they refuse to align
with the current PNC. Outside of history, no factor helps Indians
on elections day as violence orchestrated against their community.
Crime, therefore, helps to keep the PPP
Taranauth (R) and Manikram Sawh (L), missing.
No party in Guyana has required so much blood for its survival
as the PPP. The deaths had come, the pain absorbed as always,
and with no resistance or revolt from the Indian population, the
PPP always returned to norm. The same PPP General Secretary (Donald
Ramotar) who speaks of his concern for national "security"
is the same person who, after the 2002 PPP Congress was upstaged
by the blitz of more than a dozen gunmen in Rose Hall (which left
2 policemen executed and a young PPP member dead), declared the
Congress as being "highly successful." (See Chronicle,
July 23, 2002).
GUARD HUT used by
Hardat and Sookram Dhanai for their 2pm-6am shirt as guards. Guysuco
and GAWU both should be critcised for having these men
work in this half-shack, half-shell, not to mention guarding punts
in the notorious backlands of Buxton. Below, killings
another "child"; Delon Headley shot down in
August 26, a vehicle drove alonside the Buxton Embankment road
and opened fire indiscriminately, killing 16 yr-old Delon
Headley (left), who was
on hsi way to a shop. Also shot was Brian Smith, Delroy Scott,
and Leon Adams. It has been argued that this was a crime committed
to arouse the Buxtonians into thinking it was done by the phantoms,
or pro-PPP elements, and therefore, hoepfully, Buxtonians would
retaliate. The aim, a race conflict. This is not the first time
that an unknown vehicle drove into Buxton and began shooting—but
what is differnt here is the selection of targets. the people
injured and killed are not fugitives.
Then on September 24, two more sugar workers
vanished, this time from their worksites in the backlands of Lusignan,
East Coast Demerara. They are Hardat and Sookram Dhanai (see
photos, above). They were guarding some 100 cane punts
and six water punts. The working condition of the men, given the
reputation of the area, remained unsafe. Please note the "hut"
or "bench that was used by these workers during their 2pm-6am
shift. And, as if to mirror Ramotar, Prime Minister Sam
Hinds tells the public he is "distressed" upon
hearing the news. Then there is the Guyana
Agricultural and General Workers Union which represents
the sugar workers, and which is aligned with the ruling PPP party.
It announces an anti-crime march...just as the IAC
(Indian Arrival Committee; another PPP-front group formed a few
years ago), told the public in September 2004 that they should
go and demonstrate before the police HQ at Eve Leary. GAWU is
famous for talking when the damage is already done; in Albion
in 2001 when crime and lax police respose brought Albion villagers
to attack the police station, GAWU was nowhere too be seen. Locals
supportive of ROAR party organized a rally. But in the end, after
the arrival of President Jagdeo (conditions had worsened, Gagraj
was booed), GAWU said that it always took care of its people!
Today, neither GAWU nor the IAC is advising to go protest before
Every now and then, a JOKE: PPP groups marches against crime in
As we head into 2006 for the next elections,
the single most obvious change since the last elections aside
from the presence of crime uniting with politics, is the arrival
of a new party being led by Ramjattan and Trotman, formerly of
the PPP and PNC respectively. It is expected that the Alliance
for Change will be a serious threat to the PPP in regards to having
a majority of seats in parliament. Thus, the PPP just may be very
concerned about not angering the Indian population—despite
the argument that crime pushs Indians to the PPP (away from the
PNC). The PPP understands now that unlike before, voters have
a creditable alternative...this is why the largest joint operation
of some 400 soldiers-police officers, are in the Buxton backlands
in Operation Stiletto searching for gunmen are the latest victims,
a TSS police officer and his friend, were found in their torched
car in Stratsprey. Sundat Ramoutar and Suresh Persaud were both
Both had been shot and killed.
Sundat Ramoutar, 30, a Tactical Services Unit (TSU) rank, and
his friend Suresh Persaud. Right, the car in which both men were
placed (probably after being shot and killed) into the truck,
before being set afire in Stratsprey.
page of Kaieteur News, showing
the raid in progress. Right, women from Buxton protest at the
HQ, Eve Leary after some 120 men are taken from Buxton in
Operation Stiletto. Army raids into Buxton always
begin with criminals being "tipped" off. How
many raid were done; how many criminals were caught or killed?
"We thank God for the
Buxton resistance. Without that there might have been hundreds
more killed over the past two years and we pray for the Father
to protect those young men and women who are fighting to defend
the African nation in Guyana. The armed African descendants [are]
not going to end their resistance. When we are assured that we
can build businesses and employ our children in this country like
any other person, then and only then, they would have peace!"
—Ronald Waddell, 2005, on TV show,
"Taking Care of Business"
“Some are saying a political killing, at
least that is the spin that they are putting on it...The PPP all
these years has tolerated the abuse of Waddell and others, and
I don't see after all these years that they would want to kill
Jagdeo, who described the execution as "unfortunate"
election year of 2006 begins with the execution of Mr. Ronald
Waddell, controversial TV talk-show host and one of the central
figures supporting the extremists, one of the men alluded to as
a "mastermind" behind the resistance to overthrown the
PPP government. Of course, he was dropped from his HBTV (Channel
9) program, "Taking Care of Business" in 2005, after
making controversial remarks in which he saluted the campaign
of the Buxton-based gunmen. He is shot 13 times by two gunmen
infront of his home. A few days after, Eusi Kwayana makes a call
for "outside help" if the police is still having severe
problems after 7 days, but after three weeks, despite holding
ex-policeman, Sean Hinds, who was also held and then freed of
the murder of Shafeek Bacchus, the police is yet to make any significant
headway. Meanwhile, in the press, Indians denounced Mr. Waddell
as a person who preached anti-Indian racism and engaged with the
Buxton gunmen, and therefore deserved being gunned down. On the
other side, some Blacks such as Colin Bascom in the UK sees Mr.
Waddell as some kind of folk hero, and uses this opportunity to
speak about "Black-on-Black" violence.
Ms. Bonita Harris, the wife of Mr. Waddell argues that he was
a good man, and Waddell's own brother, Ovid W. Smith opined that
people misunderstood Waddell's "message." "My brother
was a very spiritual person who was not afraid to die for the
poor, oppressed, victimised and discriminated" (see SN 02/21/06).
But it was not enough. It may never be enough to convince Indians
about Waddell's role in the recent surge in race violence. "I
was really mad. My first cousin was attacked in front of her daughter
and sexually molested in Coldingen during the crime spree. I blame
the beloved husband of Bonita Harris, Ronald Waddell," wrote
one L.Singh (KN 02/17/06)
Mark Benschop, still in prison since the 2002 raid on the Presidential
Complex, writes the following letter in the press:
Let me assure those milk-drinking murderers and their political
/ drug paymasters who are no doubt responsible for the political
assassination of my dear friend, colleague and black brother,
Ronald Waddell, that I, Mark Benschop, will never be intimidated
nor am I afraid to continue the legitimate struggle to liberate
our people from those ruthless demons.
At this moment I am still mourning the assassination of Ronald.
Most Guyanese are aware of the identities of these milk-drinking
murderers. They are often seen in the company of certain unscrupulous
policemen, government officials and known extradictable drug traffickers.
Some of these murderers even boast of their connections with certain
I call on all Buxtonians to rename the market area "Waddell's
Square" in tribute to his positive work.
There were many rumours surrounding the man, most of which was
pure unmitigated propaganda. The truth is, Ronald had dedicated
his life to assisting and working to improve the lives of his
fellow men. He was loved by many and his death has left a void
in our hearts. I was honoured to call him my friend.
On behalf of myself and my family, I extend the sincerest condolences
to the wife, mother, children and relatives of the late, great,
freedom fighter, civil rights activist, journalist, teacher, political
activist and humanitarian, Ronald Waddell. His death will not
go in vain. May God bless his soul.
"I will not be intimidated by these murderers" in Sn,
cartoon of Benschop in prison. Middle, Tiffany Belfield, daughter
of Good Hope Trio member,
Sean Belfield, kidnapped and 2 days later after an estimated 5M
was paid in ransom. According to
the police commissioner, Winston felix, this kidnapping
The relatives and wife (Bonita Harris) of Mr.
Waddell called for calm and peace. She resisted whatever talks
there might have been about retaliation. And this, however one
may look at it, was very mature of her. Of course, she did something
to promote race relations: she invited ROAR's leader Ravi Dev
to speak at the funeral. This aside, there is the fear amongst
the radicals in the Black community of being targeted, watched.
There is, surprisingly, a lull and one has to sensibly conclude
that the fear of unknown gunmen has something to do with this.
This said, one can be sure that the second tier of Buxton gunmen,
are in the wings waiting. One can be sure that those who schemeed
before and are still alive, are still scheming. One thing which
the Waddell execution has raised is the idea of Blacks killing
Blacks (for Indian paymasters). One has to wonder of the schemers
will decide to go after people they fell are killing for Indian
businessmen. The kidnapping of 4-yr-old Tiffany Belfield, daughter
of ex policeman, Sean Belfield, raises this question because Mr.
Belfield was one of the Good Hope Trio, who was freed of any criminal
activities and links to the famous high-tech laptop computer that
could trace cell phone calls etc.
Bloodbath in Agricola
and an Escape through the Canefields
But this comes into question when the police
comes out and says that the kidnapping was staged; "I don't
want to reveal the investigation as such, but based on what has
been presented here this morning (yesterday morning), there are
certain commonalities which we have discovered that suggest strongly
to us that there is more in the mortar than the pestle... And
what seems to be a kidnapping might not be a kidnapping, but the
investigation is not yet completed and I will not be making any
further statement..."— (Police commissioner, Winston
Felix, police press conference, 02/27/2006)
the "great flood" of 2005, it is Mash again and this
time, the PNC joins the parade. Good for the "One people"
idea, one suppose, despite th violence. This year, as in 2002,
Mash is again overshadowed by violence when Agricola, EBD, becomes
a place of mayhem and blood on February 26, as gunmen numbering
around 20, well armed and well connected via cell phones, occupied
strategic positions around 10 pm along the new four-lane highway,
including at the heads of both entrances...and staged an attack
on the Two Brothers gas sation, owned by Shirazi Ali. Three workers
of a security firm, MMC, are shot and killed as they, allegedly
were putting air into a tire. The gunmen tried to blow-up the
gas station but the vibration and heat in the vicinity triggered
an automatic lock-down of the pumps. This is the second time in
years that the automatic locks have saved this station, a prime
target for the Buxton-based gunmen. They also attempted to set
a mini bus there alight, but that failed...after which the gunmen
headed into Agricola.
we shoot up the church, the gas station the school and every f....g
thing."—gunman at gas station
In March 2005, 15 armed men marched into Agricola,
beheaded a man's head and gunned down his girlfriend and another
man. The speculations arose: drug related, personal vendetta,
etc. What is clear now in 2006, is that the same people who did
the killings had returned. The police matched shells found at
both sites. In Agricola, the gunmen shot and and killed Fenton
Rudder who operated an internet cafe. They entered the bedroom
of an elderly pair, Hannah Cameron and David Brummel, sliting
Brummel's throat and shooting Cameron's body with multiple gunshots.
They set the house on fire. They then travelled down Caesar Street
looking for David Scott. They mey his wife, Lovern Garraway-Scott,
who they shot repeatedly before burning down her home also. With
over 100 rounds of "tracer" rounds fired, a number of
commuters on the road at the time were also shot. One, Cecil Duncan,
who owns Dream Works Internet Cafe in Windsor Forest, WCD, died
Monday morning while in the hospital.Others who survivied are
Basdeo Dolly, Shivwattie Sankar, Simone Savory, Stacy Chinapen,
Jason Thomas, and Cecil Longhorn. And, as usual, the canefield
and back dams are used for a clean getaway. The police and the
army in Guyana seems to not know how to get around the canefields.
fire lighted by gunmen to burn the gas station down. One of the
three slain security guards. The gunmen escaped via the canefieleds.
Why has the army and police been afriad of the canefields behind
Buxton down to Agricola, and further to Grove, East Bank Demerera?Why
is it that these backdam areas are used frequently byt the gunmen
but not by our security forces?
Well, as if this was not enough for the country, the next day,
Guyanese learn that guns were stolen from the army depot at the
army's headquarters, Camp Ayenganna. It turned out that 33 AK-47s
and other guns are missing. A search was done after some 500 grenades
were gone missing from an army depot in Suriname almost two weeks
ago. The army would state later that, contrary as reproted by
kaieteur News, no general purpose machine guns were stolen, only
33 Ak-47s and 5 pistols.
. "How can people be so brutal?...It takes one who is immensely
disturbed to do that and it indicates that we have all been failing"—President
Jagdeo, on the killing of the two elderly Guyanese slain in Agricola..
The alleged reason for the Agricola "bloodbath"
is a confrontation between the Black militants and the phantom.
This is the showdown that has to happen because each is a threat
to the other. The Guyanese civilian would only be bystanders waiting
to be victims. Guns are needed for large-scale operations and
guns stolen from the army is going to end up in Buxton if they
remain unfound. The army is, well, a failure when it wants to
be. Less than two weeks ago, the army went into Buxton on a patrol
and were shot at by children or young teens. One of the excuses
given to the public was they did not pursue the children, because
they had a head-start in runing away. This is the people's army
which has no war to fight, no mission to accomplish, and yet,
when asked to do assist in crime-fighting, have a problem with
night fighting, fighting in the canefields, and chasing down children
and teenagers taking pot-shots at them. One suppose that some
gratitude has to be expressed for the guns found in Buxton two
weeks ago (see below).
Find Some! Lose Some! How serious is the ARMY?
Weapons and fatigue found in Buxton in Feb 2006 during
an army patrol, after children-teenagers took pot-shots
at the soldiers before escaping!
The Future: the
Guyanese people have to prepare for a war between the gunmen and
the phantom. As of February 2006, this is where we are at. As
one gunman said in Agricola, that bloodbath was just a start.
It is showtime again! For the continuation of this electronic
scrapbook, see PAGE B: Phase Two
of the Showdown (under construction).