By Isanella Patoir
It did not take gunmen more than 20 minutes to brutally murder eleven persons from the Lusignan community, East Coast Demerara on January 26 eleven years ago.
The notorious ‘Fine Man’ led a gang of men with high powered rifles through, Track “A” – the street where this historic mass killing occurred, in the wee hours of that critical day in 2008.
The street then was nothing but a mud dam, but the brutalities of that night will forever be etched into the memories of the families that lost loved ones.
Five children were shot while sleeping in their beds; the lives of mothers, fathers and brothers were snatched in an instant.
The Indian Action Committee (IAC) on Saturday hosted the annual Remembrance Day for the lives lost and continues to give support to the families.
The 11th remembrance was held at the very street between the homes that were terrorized.
Speaking at the service, Opposition Parliamentarian, Priya Manickhand vividly recalled that horrific day.
“We got here very early, we walked through the street and it had just turned bright; we walked from the public road in and there were wails from every single house and I remember it today as I heard it then. Wrong is wrong, and we must never dress it up, they were wrong that night, they were murderers, they were terrorists, they were not freedom fighters,” Manickhand told the gathering.
“That night, what happened in Lusignan shook up this entire country, people were afraid, people were angry, people were balling and people could not sleep,” the Parliamentarian said.
Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan represented the Government of Guyana at the memorial.
“To the bereaved families, we do understand that the pain of losing your loved ones in such a tragic manner will always be with you, however you have come a long way as you muster the strength to keep going hold on to those precious memories shared with your departed loved ones,” Minister Bulkan told the gathering.
The ceremony was attended by members from the Christian, Hindu and Muslim communities.
Juan Edghill, another Opposition Parliamentarian told the gathering that he is still trying to comprehend what happened 11 years ago.
“I stand here this afternoon still trying to understand and to come to grips and to find some logical, rational explanation as to why these innocent lives were lost here”.
Those killed were 48-year-old Clarence Thomas, his 12-year-old daughter Vanessa Thomas and his 11-year-old son, Ron Thomas; 32-year-old Mohandan Gourdat, her two sons 10-year-old Seegopaul Harrilal and 4-year-old Seegbin Harrilall; 52-year-old Dhanwajie Ramsingh and adopted daughter 11-year-old, Raywattie Ramsingh; Shaleem Baksh 52-year-old; Seecharran Rooplall, 56-year-old and 22-year-old Shazam Mohammed.