President Irfaan Ali says that local investigators probing the West Coast Berbice (WCB) teen murders must be given latitude, time and cooperation to bring the guilty to justice. His call for patience comes on the heels of the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) and the family of two of the deceased young men requesting that the government foot half of the bill to bring in an Argentine Forensic team to investigate the killings which occurred back in September at Cotton Tree Village.
The Government, however, seems to be uninterested, the main Parliamentary Opposition, the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) is contending. The GHRA confirmed several days ago that missives it dispatched to the Home Affairs and Social Services Ministries to propose joint funding were not acknowledged. Vice-President, Bharrat Jagdeo at a press conference last week in the Capital, said that he believed the persons and agencies desirous of bringing in the team would have the financial means to do so. He went on to question why this particular group was selected, arguing that there are “more qualified” teams.
President Ali, during his address to the nation today, as his regime commemorates 100 days in office, labelled what transpired in WCB as “political manipulations”. The bodies of cousins, 16-year-old Isaiah and Joel Henry, 19, were discovered by a search party after the duo had been declared missing by relatives. Seventeen-year-old, Haresh Singh was found dead not long after. He was a relative of the prime suspect in police custody for the killing of the Henry boys.
President Ali reminded that it was his government that invited a specialist team from the Regional Security System (RSS) to examine and assist with the investigation. He further reminded that the RSS team had expressed confidence in the capabilities of local crime investigators to solve the murders.
However, the Henrys through their Attorney, Nigel Hughes, have said publicly that they have no confidence in the local police force.
They contend that the police offering a $3M reward for information is an admission of failure, and that the money can be better utilised by offsetting the cost to bring in the Argentine team, which is upwards of $4M.
The killing of the Henry boys sparked several fiery protests along the WCB corridor, with police resorting to use tear gas and rubber pellets to restore order.