‘I’m sorry’- 23 years jail for man who killed mall owner

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Kurt ‘Banana’ Erskine was on Monday sentenced to 23 years imprisonment for the 2015 fatal shooting of 48-year-old Ganesh Ramlall called ‘Boyo’, the owner of the Regent Multiplex Mall in Georgetown.

Erskine, 41, formerly of Golden Grove, East Bank Demerara, was sentenced by trial Judge Simone Morris-Ramlall at the Demerara High Court for the offence of manslaughter.

He was initially indicted for the capital offence of murder committed on Ramlall on July 5, 2015.

However, on March 10, 2022, a jury, after deliberating for over two hours, found Erskine not guilty of murder and guilty of manslaughter.

The State was represented by attorneys-at-law Konyo Sandiford and Narissa Leander who are special prosecutors in this matter. Erskine was represented by attorney-at-law Lyndon Amsterdam.

During the sentencing hearing on Monday, Erskine’s probation report was read in court by a social worker.

In his report, Erskine told the social worker that he is “shameful” for his “senseless” and “foolish” actions which caused the loss of a life. He also asked the victim’s family for forgiveness.

“I’m so sorry,” Erskine said as he asked the Judge to be lenient in her sentence so that he can return to society to be with his family.

The victim’s wife, Chitrakha Ramlall, read her impact statement in court as she pleaded for justice.

The grieving woman said that Erskine and others are responsible for her family’s suffering. Mrs Ramlall says she now suffers from depression and anxiety and is often tormented with memories from that fatal day.

Erskine’s attorney, during his plea of mitigation, asked the court to consider that his client acted in a joint enterprise with others.

He asked the court to consider that his client did not actively participate in the crime nor did he receive any of the proceeds from the robbery.

Special Prosecutor Sandiford asked the court to send a strong message to Erskine and like-minded persons that such criminal actions cannot be condoned. She also highlighted that Erskine showed a lack of remorse for his actions and is still maintaining his innocence.

Justice Morris-Ramlall considered the seriousness of the offence and the impact on the victim’s family among other factors as aggravating circumstances.

She also considered that the victim was shot eight times during a robbery, which was organised by Erskine and others. However, he was not at the scene of the crime, but was a principal participant.

The Judge ordered Erskine to serve 23 years imprisonment and that the prison authorities deduct from the sentence the time he spent on remand.

His co-accused Fazeel Bacchus and Lennox ‘Soldier Man’ Roberts have both pleaded guilty to manslaughter for the crime.

On February 28, Bacchus was sentenced to six and a half years by Justice Morris-Ramlall. He was released from prison the next day on time served.

Bacchus was a state witness in the trial against Erskine.

Meanwhile, on March 17, Roberts was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment for his role in the crime.

According to reports, at about 00:10 hrs on July 5, 2015, the businessman had just returned home and was about to use the outside bathroom when he was confronted by four men.

He was shot several times about his body by the armed men, who took away his licensed firearm, jewellery and a wallet and then escaped.

Ramlall was later pronounced dead at the West Demerara Regional Hospital.

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