No report filed on OPR’s two-week probe into allegation against joint service – Lindo Creek CoI hears
DPI, GUYANA, Tuesday, March 27, 2018
Although it is a standard practice to file official reports after investigations, the two-week probe by the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) into allegations of police involvement in the Lindo Creek Massacre, saw no such report being compiled.
Instead, a verbal report was allegedly given to the then OPR Head, the late Mohammed Jameer, the Commission of Inquiry (COI) into the 2008 Lindo Creek Massacre was told today.
Appearing before the commission was former Deputy Head of the OPR, Heeralall Mackhanlall. He said that a week after the remains of the miners were discovered in June 2008, he was instructed by the Head of the unit, Mohammed Jameer to conduct an investigation into the “rumour” that was being peddled at the time.
The story was that the killing was carried out by the joint services. Mackhanlall, who now heads the OPR, said he then ventured to Kwakwani and met with some senior police officers of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). The COI heard that Mackhanlall’s objective was to ascertain whether there was evidence that would link the joint services to the killing. He told the COI that he interviewed the ranks, as well as some residents of Kwakwani, that were there at the time.
Mackhanlall stated that the following day a site visit of the murder was made to determine if there were any camps in proximity, but nothing was found. He said during the inquiry, he was unable to determine where the “rumours” were originated.
Mackhanlall was further questioned by Commission Counsel, Patrice Henry. The COI heard that he was able to establish that there were 23 members of the joint services that were patrolling the area; 12 police officers and 11 officers of the Guyana Defense Force (GDF). He was made aware that the firearms of the joint services members were tested for ballistics.
Today also saw the appearance of Assistant Commissioner of Operations, Clifton Hicken, who in June 2008 was an Assistant Superintendent and Head of the Tactical Service Unit (TSU). Hicken said on June 5, 2008, he was in Kwakwani when he received a call from then Crime Chief, Seelall Persaud.
He was informed of the possibility of the “Fine man” gang’s presence in the Christmas Falls area. Hicken told the commission that he journeyed through the Unamco trail and reached Christmas Falls late that afternoon.
The former TSU officer said he and his team who overnighted at Christmas falls heard gunshots during the course of the night. The following day they ventured to the area where the gunshots were heard. After a 30-minute journey on foot, they found four men; three in an abandoned building and one in the garden. One of the men, he reported, resembled the fugitive “Fine man” that was pictured on a wanted bulletin. He said an exchange of fire ensued leaving one of the men mortally wounded in the process. He recalled that the team had found several rifles, except a missing AK rifle. He said the men possibly escaped with the AK rifle.
By: Alexis Rodney