Harmon should stop playing cheap, insensitive politics with sorrow of grieving families – Govt

WCB murders

The PPP/C Government has lashed out at Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon for playing “cheap and insensitive” politics with the heinous murders of the three West Coast Berbice (WCB) teenagers.

President Irfaan Ali

The butchered bodies of cousins Isaiah and Joel Henry were found on September 6, 2020, in the backlands of Cotton Tree, WCB. Then on September 9, 17-year-old Singh was found murdered at the Number Three Village, WCB, backlands.
While no arrest has been made in relation to Singh’s murder, several persons were arrested for the murder of the Henry teens but later released without any charge. There has been much public outrage over the pace of justice for the murdered teens.

Opposition Leader
Joseph Harmon

In a statement on Friday, the Government called upon Harmon to “stop playing his cheap and insensitive politics with the pain and sorrow of the grieving family.”
This was in response to a media release from Harmon earlier in the day in which he said he is “disturbed” by recent developments that the Government has refused to have the State bear the cost, to the tune of US$35,000, of the independent Argentinian investigative team to come to Guyana to assist with the probe into the killings.
“The Henry families deserve and demand justice and no stone must be left unturned and no effort must be spared in ensuring that justice is delivered… It is clear that there is a well-orchestrated effort, involving the police and under high-level political direction to thwart the investigations,” the missive from Harmon detailed.
However, the Government in response to the claims by Harmon reminded that it has promised a Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the killings of the Henry boys and Haresh Singh.
“The Government does not need sanctimonious outpourings from Mr Harmon on this issue… No doubt when the Commission begins its inquiry, Mr Harmon’s and the APNU/AFC’s conduct will be the subject of scrutiny, having regard to the clear role played in the resulting mayhem, and possibly, prior events,” the PPP/C Government stated.
Already, President Irfaan Ali had enlisted international help to solve the gruesome crime and a team comprised of officials from countries within the Regional Investigative Management Systems (RIMS) were in Guyana.
The five-member high-level team from the Regional Security System (RSS) have since handed over a report to the Guyana Police Force (GPF) and amongst its findings is that one of its officers was informed by a relative of the deceased that a politician asked the family to lie and say that the killings were politically and racially motivated and that if the family did so, they would be “looked after”.
On this note, Government reminded that it was after Harmon met with the relatives of the deceased that the unrests along the WCB corridor followed. There were blockages of the public road, where people were beaten and robbed, thousands of Guyanese along the WCB roadway were inconvenienced and also the loss and damage to public and private properties.
“The incendiary and inflammatory undercurrents contained in the Leader of the Opposition’s Press Statement have not gone unnoticed and Mr Harmon will continue to be held responsible for any future violent outbursts along the roadways of West Coast Berbice,” Government said in the missive.

RSS recommendation
Only Monday last, President Ali told reporters that another recommendation from the RSS team is for the Guyana Police Force to do more work.
“I have been briefed on the content of it [the report] and what I have been told is that the RSS did some work, they recommended some additional work to be done but in total, they were satisfied with the work the local police have done,” the President had stated.
The full findings of the RSS investigation have not been released to the public.
Meanwhile, Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum said earlier this week that the police are still pursuing various leads regarding the murders of cousins: 16-year-old Isaiah Henry and 19-year-old Joel Henry; as well as 17-year-old Haresh Singh.
Isaiah and Joel had left their Number Three Village, WCB home to pick coconuts but never returned home. Their bodies were found two days later.
In relation to Singh’s murder, it is suspected that his death was in retaliation for the murders of the Henry cousins, since he was related to one of the persons initially held by the police.
Police had explained that the location where the bodies of the Henry boys were found was not the primary crime scene, that is, it is not the location where the young men were killed.
Investigators are yet to locate the primary crime scene.
Meanwhile, an Argentine Team of Forensic Anthropology, the world’s foremost agency in forensic anthropology, which was expected to arrive in Guyana to support the Police Force in its probe into the murders of the three teenagers, has suffered a setback due to the high number of COVID-19 cases in that country.
The team was due in Guyana two weeks ago to commence their investigations but with the high cases of the novel coronavirus in that country, it is unclear when the team will arrive.
According to a well-placed source, once the team arrives in Guyana, their main priority is to comb the areas where the mutilated bodies of the teens were discovered for any forensic evidence. (G8)