August Crimes: 11 murders in 15 days
By Kurt Campbell
On August 01, 2022, the Guyana Police Force reported two murders; a 33-year-old mason of Broad Street, Charlestown, Rodwell Phillips was found chopped to death on the La Penitence Public Road in Georgetown while in Berbice, a businessman Vickram Seubarran was found dead on the kitchen floor of his East Canje home with a knife in his back.
Both men were killed sometime after midnight on July 31. The two deaths marked the first reported murders for the month of August.
Since then, nine other persons were killed – whether it was a fatal stab inflicted by an ex-lover or friend, strangled by a co-worker, or shot in the heat of rage – resulting in a total of 11 reported murders in 15 days. Almost, if not all the murders, were interpersonal, resulting from estranged relationships or heated exchanges between people known to each other.
These numbers could have been higher but some people survived the attempts to end their life, including the three men who were shot by masked men on August 09 along the Melanie Public Road, East Coast Demerara.
One of them sustained five gunshot wounds while another was shot three times; the third man escaped unhurt.
In addition to these reports, two decomposing bodies were found on August 11 – one floating in the Demerara River and another in a trench at Montrose, East Coast Demerara.
It remains unclear whether police have identified the bodies or the cause of their demise.
In addition, the daily headlines were not spared of the occasional fatal accidents which followed the death of Rose Hall Town teacher, Sydney Cort who died on the night of July 31 after losing control of his vehicle along the Albion/Chesney Public Road.
Since then, three porters died when the truck they were in toppled along the Linden/Soesdyke Highway on August 04. They are Michael Edwards, Wilfred Phillips, and Alicious Squad.
On August 08, Venezuelan national 35-year-old Francisco Simosa died along the Sarah Johanna Public Road along the East Bank of Demerara after being run over by a truck.
On August 14 and 15, 35-year-old Natoya Narine died in an accident along the Linden/Soesdyke Highway after losing control of the vehicle she was driving, while 53-year-old pedestrian Prashalad Sawh was struck by a motorcycle and then a car on the Lusignan Public Road, East Coast Demerara.
The frequency and gruesomeness of these incidents have not gone unnoticed as newly reported incidents have been met with comments like “what’s going on in Guyana?”
SURRENDER / CONFESSED / CHARGED / REMANDED
After removing Phillips’ body from the La Penitence Public Road on August 01, the next day the police issued a wanted bulletin for Alex Nedd in connection with the crime.
Nedd subsequently surrendered and was later charged and remanded for murder.
A 21-year-old mason identified as Dave Singh called ‘Boy’ was also arrested for the murder of Seubarran and initially charged with manslaughter and granted bail in the sum of $750, 000. That charge was later upgraded to murder and the bail was reversed.
On August 04, an 18-year-old labourer identified as Jude Christino was stabbed to death during a heated argument at Kumaka Water Front, North West District. An eyewitness said he was chased by two men, beaten, and stabbed to death.
Police executed arrests and on August 08, a 16-year-old and 22-year-old Wayne Da Silva called ‘Monkey Man’ was charged and remanded for that murder.
Angraj Kumar Indrapaul, a 59-year-old watchman at the Rose Hall Estate was found floating in a canal on August 05. Initially, his death was being investigated as drowning but when an autopsy confirmed he was strangled, his co-worker, who is also a pandit, confessed that he murdered him.
The pandit, Tharun Balgobin, was charged and remanded to prison for the murder on August 12.
The body of a Hogg Island farmer, Romeo Persaud, was found on August 07 floating in the Essequibo River, two days after he went missing. The body was anchored by his boat engine, his hands and feet were tied and his mouth taped with a black plastic bag covering his face.
Murder is suspected by the police and as of August 15, there are no leads and no one was arrested.
On August 08, 25-year-old Cindy Ramchandar was stabbed to death by her ex-husband Suraj Ganpat at No. 47 Village, East Berbice, Corentyne. After hiding for three days, the man turned himself over to the police and was charged and remanded on August 15.
On the night of August 08, in Sophia Georgetown, 22-year-old Vanessa Anderson was stabbed to death by her neigbhours during an argument. The two sisters walked to the police station after committing the act and handed the murder weapon to the police.
Jamacy Jason, 21, and Tiffine Greaves, 29, were charged and remanded for Anderson’s murder on August 11.
On the night of August 11, however, another man was stabbed to death; Kareem Kayum was stabbed by the 21-year-old University of Guyana student – Afzal Deendial – who was subsequently charged and remanded on August 16.
Police issued a wanted bulletin for 26-year-old Linden Fordyce from Region 10 on August 15 who is believed to have shot and killed a Venezuelan national, Rosmari Revolledo Torress at Mowaise Landing on August 12. The police did not release an official statement on this murder.
On August 13, however, the police reported that a young man, just 20 years old, lost his life after being stabbed during an argument at Perseverance, East Bank Demerara. The two suspects responsible for the murder of Owen Young turned themselves over to the police and are expected to be charged later this week.
To sum up the 11 murders between August 01 and August 15, 18-year-old Donald Gibson was stabbed during a street brawl at Parika, East Bank Demerara by a 24-year-old male suspect who is in police custody and is expected to be charged later this week.
In mid-July, Police Commissioner (ag) Clifton Hicken reported that statistics show a 15 per cent decrease in serious crimes which include murder, armed robbery and rape.
Between January and September last year, 89 persons were murdered when compared to 111 in 2020.
The Police Force has not released any year-to-date statistics for 2022 on serious crimes nor have they provided any comparative analysis to 2021.