Hughes recommends Argentina team to probe murder of Henry boys
-says local, regional investigators have failed
By Kurt Campbell
Prominent attorney-at-law, Nigel Hughes who is representing the interest of the Henry families in the murders of teen cousins Joel and Isaiah Henry, said on Tuesday that the local police investigators, and by extension the Regional Security System (RSS) team, have failed in their attempts to solve the murders.
As such, he is suggesting that a capable team from Argentina, who indicated willingness to come here, investigate the murders.
His comments, which were made during a virtual press conference with the Henry family, came hours after the Guyana Police Force offered a reward of $3M to any person or persons who can provide information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators of these gruesome murders.
Hughes said the reward offer by the police is an admission of failure that they are unable to solve crime with their present means.
“The police are now hoping, that by financial incentive, they will be able to solve these crimes. My experience has been that when rewards are offered for crimes, a lot of people who do not possess reliable information, come forward with information that is less than reliable and sometimes created…the police have effectively admitted that they are not in a position to limit the scope of potential suspects,” Hughes told a news conference.
Asked about his impression of the work done by the RSS team, which was brought here by President Irfaan Ali to support the Police, Hughes said the fact that the RSS reposed full confidence in the work of the Police Force says a lot of its own capacity.
He said instead of offering the $3 million reward, the authorities should secure the best available forensic experts to investigate the ghastly murders.
The attorney has joined the family in recommending that the government offer financial support that would allow for an Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team – EAAF -to come to Guyana.
The team is asking for $4 million in professional fees, with the exception of travel, food and board. They have also asked for an additional US$1,000 to expedite the shipping of equipment that they would need.
The team will include a Forensic Anthropologist from Argentina, two Forensic Pathologist and a Criminalistic – all from Spain.
Hughes said while the police have welcomed the involvement of the team, there have been no response from the Minister of Home Affairs after several letters were written.
Family members said when the issue was raised with the President two weeks ago, he “didn’t give a positive answer” and also reposed confidence in the RSS team.
Hughes said as it is now, there are many doubts in relation to the investigation done by the Guyana Police Force. He said the police are yet to locate the primary crime scene; the trousers that Joel was wearing was never sent for forensic examination; the missing slipper for Isaiah was never found and young rice (rice not ready for harvesting) in a nearby field where the bodies were found, were harvested before police combed the area
“This is not your regular common guard murder; it is an open gaping wound that is getting septic and it is not solved, there is likely to be more problems,” the lawyer said.
The mutilated bodies of Isaiah, 16, and Joel, 18, were found in the Cotton Tree backlands, West Coast Berbice on September 6. The killers carved out a huge ‘X’ on Isaiah’s head while they cut open Joel’s chest.
The cousins had left their Number 3 Village, West Coast Berbice home to go into the backdam to pick coconuts on September 5 and that was the last time they were seen alive.
A Post Mortem Examination (PME) found that they both died from haemorrhage and shock due to multiple incised injuries including severed spines. Approximately 27 persons were arrested during the course of the investigation but all were released due to lack of evidence.
On September 14, the police determined that the boys were murdered somewhere else and then dumped in the backlands of Cotton Tree.
Subsequently, a total of 75 ranks drawn from Region 5, the Major Crimes Unit and the Guyana Defence Force led by Region 5 Divisional Commander and a Lt Colonel along with Government Pathologist Dr Nehaul Singh combed the backlands of Number Two and Three Villages on the West Coast of Berbice with the hope of finding the area where the teen cousins were killed.
Ranks on the ground also received aerial support via a helicopter from the Guyana Defence Force.
Mass protests erupted following the killings. It was during those protests that 17-year-old Haresh Singh was killed. The police have not been able to arrest anyone in connection with his murder and Hughes, who is also representing the Singh’s family, plans to hold a separate press conference soon to deal with this investigation.