Family and friends gathered on Friday night at the corner of Sheriff and Bonasika Streets, Campbellville Georgetown – the spot where 19-year-old University of Guyana student Yohance Douglas was gunned down by a group of policemen on March 1, 2003 – to honour his memory.
The candle light vigil was organized by the Guyana Youth and Student Movement (GYSM).
Winston Maynard, a member of the GYSM told News Room, “16 years on we still remember Yohance. His death was a highlight of an era infamous for such acts or atrocities dealt out to young black Guyanese citizens.”
“I don’t want us to forget that this new administration in a campaign promised that they would have an inquiry into this incident and we are here to send a message that as youths, we remember this promise.”
At the vigil, members of the organization, family, and friends took turns in sharing memories of the young man.
Douglas was travelling with three other friends, Ronson Gray, Quacy Haywood and O’Neil King, along Sheriff Street, when a five-member police patrol intercepted and opened fire on their vehicle.
Douglas was killed while the driver, University of Guyana student Ronson Gray, was shot in the jaw.
The police version of events was that they were looking out for a car which had reportedly left Buxton with five men when they spotted the vehicle with Douglas and his friends.
Policemen Gerald Alonzo and Mahendra Baijnauth were charged with Douglas’s murder in April 2003. Lance Corporal Baijnauth was also charged with the attempted murder of Ronson Gray.
The Kaieteur News had reported that on February 17, 2004, Alonzo and Baijnauth were ordered to stand trial for Douglas’s murder.
However, the charges of murder and attempted murder were subsequently dropped against Baijnauth, while the charge against his colleague, Alonzo, was reduced to manslaughter.
According to the Kaieteur News, two years after the slaying, a jury found Alonzo guilty of manslaughter and sentenced him to six years. He served four years in jail before being freed on appeal.