Testimonies of spirits and burnt bones at Lindo creek COI
By Devina Samaroo
The Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the 2008 Lindo Creek Massacre today heard testimonies from a detective who was involved in the investigation and the father and wife of one of the slain miners.
The detective recalled seeing a pile of burnt bones while the widowed woman testified hearing the ghost of her dead husband.
Retired Guyana Police Force Detective Sergeant Clemsford Burnette was the first to take the stand before the one-man Commission of Inquiry chaired by Retired Justice Donald Trotman.
Fielding questions from State Prosecutor Patrice Henry, the retired detective recalled discovering a large pile of burnt bones, important documents and spent shells when he and other ranks visited the scene at Lindo Creek, Upper Berbice in June 2008.
The former detective said he was informed of the situation at Lindo Creek on June 21, 2008, by his then supervisor, Superintendent Edgar Thomas.
The heap of charred skeletal remains, he said, was 1ft high and about 8ft wide. Among the documents discovered were a Scotia Bank bankbook, a burned passport, an ID card, and a birth certificate. He also found one 7.62 live round and four 7.62 x 39 mm spent shells and one sledgehammer.
Burnette said the birth certificate belonged to Bonny Harry – one of the eight men who was murdered.
All the items were lodged at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), he noted, while the bones were taken to the Lyken Funeral Parlour and autopsies were subsequently conducted in the absence of relatives.
Burnette could not recall if family members were notified.
The second person to take the stand was 89-year-old Winston Harry, the father of Bonny Harry, one of the men who was killed. Winston broke down in tears before the Commission when he was questioned about the moment he received the dreaded news of his son’s demise.
Winston said he last saw Bonny in March 2008, at his (Winston’s) wife’s funeral and never in his wildest dreams did he imagine, he would lose his son shortly after.
The man lamented that no policeman or anyone else in higher authority made contact with him during that dark period.
“Nobody ain’t coming and ask me or tell me ‘so and so happen’ or that they’re from ‘so and so place’. Until the year before the last, a lil bai come and ask me what I gonna do with the bones,” Winston related.
The elderly man said he got “vex” and informed the officer to go “make soup” with the bones.
“I say ‘bai, alyuh tek it and mek soup’ because how you could know which bone is who own?” he stated.
Winston said the only other news he received from high authorities about the massacre was when persons from the CoI contacted him.
Bonny’s wife, Maureen, told the CoI that she heard her husband’s spirit at their Zorg, Essequibo home a few days before she was informed of his death.
Maureen said she and her daughter heard loud footsteps in their home in the middle of the night and after receiving news of her husband’s death, she strongly believed that it was Bonny visiting his family.
Maureen too informed the Commission that no one made contact with her about Bonny’s demise. She subsequently revealed that three police officers visited her at home but she told them to leave.
On another note, Bonny’s father revealed that he (Bonny) was in possession of a licensed a 20-gauge shotgun when he was in Lindo Creek. Since his son’s death, Winston said he had no clue about the whereabouts of the firearm.
The retired detective did not mention anything about locating a firearm at the scene. Burnette said he went back to Lindo Creek several times after with teams from Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago and during one of those trips, they discovered a wedding band.
Meanwhile, outside of the Department of Public Service – where the COI was being held – a group of men waved placards calling for the truth behind the Lindo Creek Massacre to come to light.
The Lindo Creek Inquiry is the first in a series of CoIs to be launched by President David Granger into mysterious killings that occurred during the period 2002-2009.
The Lindo Creek Inquiry will investigate and make findings of fact on all matters in relation to the killings of Cecil Arokium, Dax Arokium, Horace Drakes, Bonny Harry, Lancelot Lee, Compton Speirs, Nigel Torres and Clifton Berry Wong at Lindo Creek in the Upper Demerara- Berbice Region on, or about June 21, 2008.