The Tourist Villa Hotel in Subryanville, Georgetown is one that always has guests. Also, the facility has a bar, which according to sources, usually has persons imbibing at all hours of the day and night.
But on the morning 30-year-old Jason De Florimonte was killed, it is alleged that no guest was at the hotel and the bar. Investigators found this to be strange.
The Tourist Villa Hotel owner, Erwin Bacchus, was previously charged with manslaughter but had his charge upgraded to murder after the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Shalimar Ali-Hack was asked to reexamine the case.
The Guyana Standard has been informed that the only witnesses in the murder are the suspect and one of his handymen. They were the only ones who were said to be inside the hotel when De Florimonte stormed into the building to attack the handyman.
According to information received, ranks who were assigned to the case did not check the hotel’s guest book to see whether anyone was booked into the facility at the time of the murder. “If they had guests and the people hear gunshots then they would have eventually come out to inquire,” a source said.
Some ranks believe the fact that no attempts were made to check the hotel’s records or to make contact with persons who might have been at the facility at the time, was a deliberate attempt to aid the businessman in covering his tracks.
“If you have witnesses, they will talk so maybe attempts were made to get rid of the witnesses. A couple of us sat and discussed this case and it was very strange that a big hotel like that had no guests and now you can’t ask for a guest book because they (hotel) will amend it,” the source alleged.
A senior policeman has been accused of helping the hotel owner to get rid of the surveillance DVR (Digital Video Recorder) which would have recorded the entire incident. The cop was at the time in the hotel with a female companion.
There are reports that when technicians from the Guyana Police Force examined the businessman’s cameras and the DVR, the two were not compatible.
“This means that the DVR was swapped after the shooting. The businessman has high definition cameras and the DVR we found could not have worked with those cameras. Also, the DVR was brand new,” a source close to the investigation, said.
“After the shooting, that same policeman called another rank and the two of them started the investigation right away and that’s how the man get charged with manslaughter in the first place,” the source added.
He revealed that those two policemen were transferred from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) some time back—and one was demoted to uniform after they were suspected to have tampered with evidence in another case
The Guyana Standard was told that while Bacchus’ charge was upgraded to murder, some ranks are worried that he might walk free based on how the investigation was done and the file was structured.
“If justice is to be served then that case has to be reinvestigated. There is a lot of missing evidence from the file and the misplaced surveillance DVR is a major part of the investigation but that was omitted from the case,” the source said.
Bacchus is being represented by Attorneys-at-law, Glenn Hanoman and Nigel Hughes.