Wife of Lindo Creek massacre victim breaks down in tears at CoI
By Bibi Khatoon
Collette Wong, the wife of Clifton Wong, who was one of the men killed at the Lindo Creek massacre in June of 2008, today broke down in tears as she recounted the last conversation with her husband before he was killed.
Mrs. Wong testified as the Commission of Inquiry (COI) into the Lindo Creek massacres continued.
She recalled that she last saw her husband at the end of May 2008 and he was with her for Mother’s Day that year and her birthday on May 19. A few weeks later, he was among eight men found burnt to death at a camp at Lindo Creek in the Berbice River.
The woman broke down in tears as she recalled the last words she heard from her husband who called her from Kwakwani, on his way to work at Lindo Creek.
“He called from Kwakwani and said ‘I love you, take care of the children, you will be hearing from me, you will hear from me for Shemika birthday, I will send her something so she can have a birthday on the 14th of June,” the woman told the commission.
Mrs. Wong said she first saw a News Flash in relation to miners being killed on June 20, 2008, but paid little interest until later in the night when her nephew-in-law visited to tell her that her husband also known as ‘Berry’ was one of the men killed.
Trying to remain strong, she recounted that it was until she was called to a meeting with the owner of the Lindo Creek diamond mine, Leonard Arokium that she broke down in tears.
The couple was married for 21 years with five children.
Mrs. Wong told the Commission that she was at no time contacted by the police about the burial of her husband’s remains. She said she would like to know where the remains were placed.
The second person to take the witness stand was her daughter, Shaneza Romain – the sibling who was looking forward to her birthday gift from her father.
In tears, Romain, who is a Laboratory Technician at the Corentyne Comprehensive School, related that her father promised to fund her studies at the University of Guyana but instead she was forced to sell his last gift to her –a pair of gold bangles –to contribute to up-keeping the home after he passed.
The family also told the Commission that no counseling was received following the incident.