Businessman kills wife, commits suicide

By Andrew Carmichael

A Berbice, Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) businessman was discovered

Dead: Rhonda Blair

dead lying in a pool of blood in a clump of bushed behind his East Canje house, hours after his wife was found dead in the couple’s home.

Dead are Rhonda Blair, 42; and her husband Rudolph Blair, 26, of Lot 91 Coburg Street, Cumberland Village, East Canje.

The entrepreneurs were the owners of the Stretch ‘D’ Dollar Supermarket chain, situated in East Canje, New Amsterdam and Rosignol, West Coast Berbice.

Police in a release said Rhonda Blair’s body was discovered, about 00:05h on Friday in her backyard with two stab wounds – one to the left side breast and the other to the right side

Dead: Rudolph Blair

neck. Meanwhile, Rudolph Blair’s body was discovered with two suspected gunshot wounds to the left ear and left side chest, about 08:40h in some bushes at the back of his premises. His licensed .32 pistol with six live rounds and one spent

shell were found next to his body, the release said.

Divisional Commander Assistant Commissioner Paul Williams told the media that shortly after midnight, one of Rhonda Blair’s friends reported to the Police that she was not finding her. According to the friend, at about 19:30h on Thursday, Rhonda Blair was expected to be home after her regular business day but had not been answering her phone.

The scene at Cumberland on Friday morning

The report was made to the Rose Hall Police Outpost, Williams said.

According to him, the Police accompanied the friend and the couple’s son to the home in East Canje, where Rhonda’s body was discovered in a pool of blood.

At that time, her husband was the prime suspect and at about 05:00h the Police received information that he was in the bushes.

According to reports, he told close relatives not to come further and that he was

Undertakers removing the businessman’s body

okay. During the standoff, according to residents, there was the sound of what appeared to be a gunshot followed by two louder explosions.

The Commander said he was able to speak with the suspect as he hid between the bushes. “We kept talking to him all the time as we were going and then we discovered the body…”

The man’s body was lying face up on a plot of land covered with large trees about 60 meters from his fenced yard.

The Commander noted that before the discovery was made, there was a back and forth conversation among the Police, relatives and the suspect.

“Earlier when we tried negotiating with him, he was talking but his voice was very faint. I told him that he should come out and give up himself and deal with the matter professionally but he said “No”, so I told him that the relatives are going to come and he said, “Don’t come. I don’t want anybody to come. I am okay”. He kept talking for a while and then eventually he stopped talking but we kept talking for a while without hearing anything and then we went in,” Williams revealed.

When the body was brought out from the bushes, there was much wailing by family members. Blair was said to be the main source of support for the extended family; most of whom referred to him as the advisor in the family.

In December 2013, the Blairs’ opened their third store in Pitt Street, New Amsterdam. The couple’s businesses employed a total of 67 persons – the first was opened at Cumberland in 2002, while the Rosignol outlet was opened in 2010.

In recent years, Blair had been having difficulty meeting financial obligations to a financial institution for a loan for the New Amsterdam building, this newspaper was told. The bank had reportedly made an attempt on foreclose but through negotiations, the loan was renegotiated.

This newspaper was told that Rhonda Blair had turned the Rosignol outlet into a church, reducing income and the ability to meet financial obligations to the bank.

Vehicles were sold in an effort to keep up with bank instalments, Guyana Times was told and Blair had suggested to his wife that they sell the Rosignol property to pay off the bank loan on the New Amsterdam property, but she insisted that she be allowed to hold on to her church.

However, two months ago, he sold another property he owned and purchased a car and operated it as hire but it could not rake in the amount of money needed to prevent the bank from foreclosing.

Earlier this week, he reportedly told close associates that he could not take the financial pressure, criticising his wife for the stand she took on the New Amsterdam property.  The couple has two children.