Guyana: Three arrested for murder; Home Affairs Minister urges residents not to block road – UPDATED

— The land owner, his son and an employee have been arrested for the murder of the two youths

UPDATE: Two more persons (Total now five), arrested for murder of teenagers. Police use tear gas and rubber bullets on protesters on Monday night 

Robeson Benn

After an overnight lull, residents of Number 5 Village, West Coast Berbice on Monday morning blocked the public road to continue venting their anger against the brutal slaying of two youths in the backlands of Cotton Tree village where they had gone to pick coconuts.

Home Affairs Minister Robeson Benn appealed to the understandably grief-stricken villagers to cease said blocking that section of the east-west thoroughfare as it would hamper police from solving the crime speedily.  “I wish to urge all residents of the local communities to act in a manner that is lawful and helpful to the Police in aiding their work and in preserving the peace across and between all communities,” Mr. Benn said.     

After the bodies of the  youths were found, residents blocked the road at Number 5 Village with burning tires, old vehicles and other material as they called for justice. They late last night ceased their protests but resumed shortly after 6:30 AM, snarling vehicle traffic in both directions.

The Home Affairs Minister indicated that government has instructed the police to conduct a thorough probe into the killing if cousins Isaiah and Joel Henry and the mutilation of their bodies.  “There is no justification for these acts.”

“The Guyana Police Service is vigorously pursuing its investigations into this crime and is required to spare no lawful effort to bring the perpetrator(s) to justice. These investigations must be complete and thorough,” Mr. Benn said. He added that The Ministry of Home Affairs would fully support all efforts, and source and bring to bear all requisite resources, towards helping the West Coast Berbice Communities through this difficult time.

Region Five Divisional Police Commander Edmond Cooper told News-Talk Radio Guyana 103.1 FM/ Demerara Waves Online News that the coconut farmer at Cotton Tree Village where traces of suspected blood were found was Monday morning still in custody.

The Home Affairs Minister said he was shocked at the killing of the youths who left their homes at about 5 AM Saturday morning to pick coconuts to sell but never returned home. “I share the shock, hurt and anger at this gruesome event, and particularly, the grief of: the families and friends of these youths of all of the Berbice Communities. The countrywide distress, abhorrence and condemnation are noteworthy and very keenly felt,” he said.

Meanwhile, Education Minister Priya Manickchand urged politicians not to use the situation to score political mileage. “I also call on political leaders not to behave irresponsibly by using a family’s pain, a community’s sorrow, a country’s grief to gain cheap points. That would be almost as reprehensible as the gruesome acts committed. We must all reject such politicians,” she said.

President Irfaan Ali and Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon have separately appealed to residents to be patient and allow police to conduct their investigations. At the same time, they condemned the incident and urged that every effort be made to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Mr. Harmon was Monday expected to visit Number Three Village.


Police open fire on West Berbice protesters; five suspects in murder of cousins arrested

 in BusinessNews September 7, 2020

Monday night fired teargas and pellets to disperse people on the West Coast Berbice public road, saying that two days of protests against the barbaric killing of two cousins have descended into alleged robberies and other attacks on innocent people.

“After several hours of the roadway being blocked, the police had no alternative but to take all necessary action to ensure that the road is clear,” police force spokesman, Royston Andries said.

Among the injured is A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) supporter, Carol Joseph, according opposition APNU+AFC spokesman, Imran Khan. He provided pictorial evidence,

The Guyana Police Force said that up to 6:30 PM Monday, five people were in custody as police continued their probe into the killing of Isaiah and Joel Henry whose mutilated bodies were found Sunday afternoon in the backlands of Cotton Tree, West Coast Berbice.

Police said they have received several reports of robberies being perpetrated on several innocent citizens and those were being taken seriously. “Additionally, the Force wishes to state that when protest action degenerates into unlawful acts, infringing on the rights of other citizens and putting the protection of life and the safeguard of property at risk, the GPF will consequently take the appropriate action against perpetrators,” the Guyana Police Force said in a statement.

Riot police were seen chasing protesters at Hopetown Village, West Coast Berbice.

Earlier Monday, Home Affairs Minister said police had moved “assets” into the West Berbice area where residents blocked the Number 5 Village, West Coast Berbice Public Road and burned debris.

Vehicular traffic going east and west ground to an almost standstill, causing commuters to walk for miles past the hotspot to board other vehicles to continue their onward journeys.

APNU+AFC said in a statement Monday night warned that if police did not heed that political organisation’s call for an end to police action, the crisis could deepen and the administration of President Irfaan Ali would have to bear full responsibility. “The APNU+AFC calls for an immediate ceasefire and for the police to desist from injuring and maiming innocent citizens. To shoot at innocent protestors is provocation and incitement by the police and will, in all likelihood, result in a response which the fraudulent and illegitimate PPP government will be held totally and ultimately responsible for,” the coalition said.

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Comments

  • Douglaman  On September 7, 2020 at 4:56 pm

    Here we go again…
    I am sitting here in Guyana looking at how things are unfolding. — and hoping they will not explode.

    Three persons have now been arrested The owner (age 57) of the estate, his son and a worker. All of the are of East Indian origin,(although not reported), thus the political responses and fears of everyone here.
    What has angered the residents was the gruesome way the youths were murdered. .. and whether it was even necessary for them to be injured.
    “Their bodies were discovered with chops all over their bodies, including their necks, heads, and face”.

    What politicians have to understand is that the protesters, especially the young ones, are not listening to them. They will take matters in their own hands.
    This situation will not end quickly.
    It could be a similar situation as what happened under PPP Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee when Police shot four persons dead and many were wounded while blocking the Wismar – Mc Kenzie bridge in 2012..

    Linden protest turns deadly…Four dead, two dozen injured …https://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/2012/07/19/linden-protest-turns-deadly-four-dead-two-dozen-injured/

    Many changes have been made to the Police Force since the PPP Home Affairs Minister Robeson Benn took charge a month ago. It is reported that the Police Force is demoralized by these changes. One wonders now how they would handle this one..

    In any case, there is now no traffic flowing between Berbice and Demerara. If things escalate we could see other road blockages on the East Coast and East Bank of Demerara. This would completely paralyze the economy, already weakened by COVID-19.

    We all hope that it is resolved without further disruption and bloodshed.

    Douglaman

  • Winston  On September 7, 2020 at 6:28 pm

    Everyone knew that it was an East Indian man who owned the Coconut plantation so the government need not try to hide it. I wonder if the owner would have killed two teenage boys for picking coconuts on his property had they been East Indians??? How can anyone viciously murder two boys for picking coconuts, especially when things are financially tough for Guyanese on the whole. I hope that Mr. Benn enforces justice for these two young men and their families. Jagdeo is known for appointing Afro Guyanese in Ministerial positions that put their feet in the fire when dealing with Afro Guyanese.

  • guyaneseonline  On September 7, 2020 at 10:05 pm

    Police open fire on West Berbice protesters; five suspects in murder of cousins arrested

    Demerara Waves– by: Denis Chabrol in Business, News September 7, 2020

    Monday night fired teargas and pellets to disperse people on the West Coast Berbice public road, saying that two days of protests against the barbaric killing of two cousins have descended into alleged robberies and other attacks on innocent people.

    “After several hours of the roadway being blocked, the police had no alternative but to take all necessary action to ensure that the road is clear,” police force spokesman, Royston Andries said.

    Among the injured is A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) supporter, Carol Joseph, according opposition APNU+AFC spokesman, Imran Khan. He provided pictorial evidence,

    The Guyana Police Force said that up to 6:30 PM Monday, five people were in custody as police continued their probe into the killing of Isaiah and Joel Henry whose mutilated bodies were found Sunday afternoon in the backlands of Cotton Tree, West Coast Berbice.

    Police said they have received several reports of robberies being perpetrated on several innocent citizens and those were being taken seriously. “Additionally, the Force wishes to state that when protest action degenerates into unlawful acts, infringing on the rights of other citizens and putting the protection of life and the safeguard of property at risk, the GPF will consequently take the appropriate action against perpetrators,” the Guyana Police Force said in a statement.

    Riot police were seen chasing protesters at Hopetown Village, West Coast Berbice.

    Earlier Monday, Home Affairs Minister said police had moved “assets” into the West Berbice area where residents blocked the Number 5 Village, West Coast Berbice Public Road and burned debris.

    Vehicular traffic going east and west ground to an almost standstill, causing commuters to walk for miles past the hotspot to board other vehicles to continue their onward journeys.

    APNU+AFC said in a statement Monday night warned that if police did not heed that political organisation’s call for an end to police action, the crisis could deepen and the administration of President Irfaan Ali would have to bear full responsibility. “The APNU+AFC calls for an immediate ceasefire and for the police to desist from injuring and maiming innocent citizens. To shoot at innocent protestors is provocation and incitement by the police and will, in all likelihood, result in a response which the fraudulent and illegitimate PPP government will be held totally and ultimately responsible for,” the coalition said.

  • guyaneseonline  On September 7, 2020 at 10:24 pm

    Granger, Ali, Jagdeo at odds over root of killing of West Berbice youths
    Posted by: Denis Chabrol in Crime, News, Politics September 7, 2020 1 Comment

    Former President David Granger on Monday attributed the killing and mutilation of two youths at the weekend to the People’s Progressive Party’s (PPP) failure to condemn post-election unrest in West Berbice earlier this year, but President Irfaan Ali and Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo denied his claims.

    “It is their attitude! If on the 6th of March, they had condemned what happened here on the West Coast Berbice- the stoning of the school buses and the vandalism that occured, this would not have occurred but they are sending a message that sort of behaviour is normal; they could do it again and again,” he said. Mr. Granger lauded the residents for sending a message that “we are not going to put up with this nonsense.”

    Back in March, People’s Progressive Party supporters rioted by blocking roads with fiery debris, burnt vehicles and stoned a school bus, resulting in the injury of four students. The supporters, who had demanded that Region Four votes of the March 2, 2020 general elections be properly declared, had also chopped two policemen.

    But Mr. Ali said “I condemn every single act in this country that had criminality in it” even as he recalled that he and other party supporters had gone out there and “called on the people to come off the road.”Mr. Granger has a responsibility by going there. You can either help the situation by talking to people to be lawful and respectful or you could decide to ignite the situation. For us, our focus is on reducing flames, improving relations and having a more peaceful society,” the President said.

    Mr. Jagdeo added that Mr. Granger “should not be taken seriously” because from 2015 to 2019 Guyana’s international standing declined, democracy regressed, unemployment increased , the social safety was dismantled and his rhetoric was divisive. “This is a politician who has failed to do anything in five years to improve relations and Mr. Granger doesn’t read much because he were to go now to look at the party’s (PPP) Facebook page, you would see a condemnation of the bus incident on the party’s page. I personally approved that and put it on the party’s page,” the Vice President.

    Mr. Granger also told the two gatherings at the homes of the now deceased youths that APNU+AFC would set up a defence society to protect residents if the police force fails to protect residents from senseless killings like those at the weekend. “We call on the government to protect us and if the government does not give us the full protection we deserve, we are going to take any reasonable measure to defend ourselves,” said Mr. Granger who is also leader of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR). “We can’t reverse what has happened but we will do our utmost to avoid a recurrence,” he said.

    Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon also announced that APNU+AFC would be assisting with funeral expenses for 18-year old Joel Henry,a labourer and 16-year old Isaiah Henry, a student of Lots 26 and 32 Number 3 Village, West Coast Berbice. He told the surviving families and residents to refuse assistance from the government.

    Mr. Harmon also announced that civil court proceedings would be filed against those found guilty of murder of the Henrys some time between early Saturday morning when they left their homes to collect coconuts to sell and Sunday afternoon when their bodies were discovered by a search party.

    • Kman  On September 8, 2020 at 10:56 am

      Granger, happy retirement, worry about your health and stop trying to cause trouble

      • Curtis  On September 8, 2020 at 11:53 am

        It’s nice that you’re swooning at the election of your party KMAN. That said, President Granger and APNU are well aware that the PPP will not take care of the Afro Guyanese because they know that they cannot look to them to help them win the next election, never mind their campaign promise of a government of inclusiveness. You don’t know how healthy Ali is. He doesn’t look too healthy to me given his size for a 43 year old man and as to Jagdeo do you know if he has any health issues? Age has nothing to do with health issues. Man appoints and God disappoints!!! You continue to write a lot of nonsense…..wind your neck in!!!

  • Jasmin Prasard  On September 8, 2020 at 3:21 am

    Too sad, honestly this must be drug related.

    • Linda  On September 8, 2020 at 10:46 am

      Please tell me why you think the killing of these two teenagers are drug related?

  • Georgy Porgy  On September 8, 2020 at 10:51 am

    Jagdeo has the temerity to say that APNU did nothing for Guyana during their 4 short years in office? What did the PPP, he included, do during their 23 years in office except to fill their pockets with stolen gold and drug trafficking money. He’s a fraud and so is the PPP and no matter how much they try to court the indigenous people to secure a win in the next election, they will not succeed.

    • Kman  On September 8, 2020 at 10:58 am

      PNC have four years to plan rigging

      • Curtis  On September 8, 2020 at 11:58 am

        That’s the nonsense that you write that I was talking about.

  • The Blue Man  On September 8, 2020 at 12:00 pm

    Hey folks, if you break the laws, you’ll have to pay.

  • guyaneseonline  On September 8, 2020 at 12:44 pm

    From: Moderator:

    As moderator… I would ask all persons who comment to stay on course and comment on the subject matter.
    If you do not you will be banned.
    This entry has nothing to do with Granger or the elections. Thank you.

    This entry has to do with a serious matter that is deteriorating hourly.
    Latest news is that there are five roadblocks and that the police are unable to clear them.
    The gruesome nature of the killings has made the people in that area resolute.
    Whether we agree or not with their actions is not the point..
    Unless the hate and racism stops Guyana is doomed… no matter who wins the elections.
    So stay on point, and try to be positive, if you want to keep commenting on this blog…

    Thank you.
    Moderator

  • Ron Saywack  On September 8, 2020 at 2:24 pm

    What allegedly happened to the two young men on the West Coast of Berbice should never happen to anyone, not in Guyana, not anywhere else. It is a reprehensible and evil act of hate. No one should lose their lives over a few cocoanuts, over simple larceny.

    A property owner cannot be witness, judge, jury, and executioner.
    The perpetrator(s) must be brought to justice and face the full force of the law to send a strong message.

    Citizens have every right to protest such gruesome, barbaric killings, just as people in America are protesting brutal police killings of Blacks, but the protests must not devolve into anarchy, arson, and violence. That is counterproductive!

    Destruction of property or lives doesn’t solve the problem, it only makes it worse.
    We are much better than that, people of Guyana!

    Ron Saywack.

    • William  On September 8, 2020 at 2:57 pm

      Ron I hear you but in a country like Guyana there are times that people will have to fight fire with fire as their only recourse to make the government understandthat they mean business. Hopefully things will settle down soon and the Henry family will find justice for their boys.

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