Home > Corruption, Expatriate Crimes, Guyana Police Force, Phantom Squad, PPP, Ronald Gajraj, Shaheed ‘Roger’ Khan, Thomas Carol > The rise of organised crime in Guyana – 19 years later

The rise of organised crime in Guyana – 19 years later

Written by realTalk
Sunday, 12 June 2011 13:31
Many Guyanese blindly support the PPP government and are either not aware or choose to ignore the severe effects of crime that have tormented Guyana and continue to do at alarming rates. All the talk about the 40 and 50 year old events that took place in this country under the PNC is but a tiny speck when compared to the very large ever spreading blotch painted in blood that continues to run on the fabric of our society.

A few months after the dawn of the new era of democracy in Guyana in 1992, Monica Reece was flung from a speeding car on Main Street Georgetown. It was to mark the beginning of a vile and treacherous era of organized crime in Guyana. To trace the birth and rise of organized crime in Guyana during the last 19 years would require a book. No column can do justice to the darkest period of our history.

The Guyana Police Force unfortunately played a crucial role in the nurture of crime in the Guyanese society through its ambivalence with regard to its crime solving ability. The wanton engagement in extrajudicial killings began in the mid-90s and rose to dizzying levels with the ‘Black Clothes’ wreaking havoc on the unsuspected and the unprepared. These events, from little Jermaine in Albouystown in the late 90s to Shaka Blair and Yohance Douglas in 2002 and the others that followed, place the Guyana Police Force in a very precarious position where extrajudicial killings in Guyana are concerned.

With extrajudicial killings rapidly intensifying in the 90s, it did not come as a surprise when the disgraced former US Embassy employee, Mr. Thomas Carol, identified members of the ‘Black Clothes’ as being his muscle used to extort monies from persons caught up in his ‘Back-Track’ scheme. This did not mean that members of the Force were disciplined. No. This new era of democracy saw the wanton rewarding of incompetence. The elite ‘Black Clothes’ police continued their vicious work of taking lives, instead of solving crime.

The prison break of 2001 introduced Guyanese to a display of unrestrained violence never seen before. According to the Police, the escapees allegedly went on a robbing and murdering spree in Georgetown and other parts of Guyana. There was much violence in Georgetown, the East Coast and some parts of Berbice. And soon every robbery and murder was being pinned on the escapees. This led to an all-out man hunt countrywide for this band of robbers and murderers.

What happened as a result of this wave of terrorism in Guyana was the rise of a self-appointed vigilante, drug lord and businessman Saheed Roger Khan. He said he offered his expertise to the government and played a very instrumental role in bringing the escapees to justice. How could a criminal fugitive from the United States of America – a drug lord – assist in fighting crime? It is incomprehensible.

Dead bodies started surfacing all over Georgetown with multiple bullet wounds with no apparent explanation. This went on for a few years. Certain alleged drug kingpins were also terminated. And so it seemed as if amongst the eradication of the escapees, a teeming turf war had ensued. The emergence of George Bacchus and his revealing testimony that introduced Guyanese to the startling connection shared by the government and Mr. Khan’s outfit shed new light on the level of violence that was being perpetrated. George Bacchus execution-style death generated several questions that remain unanswered to this day.

Strangely, the recently concluded manhunt for Osama Bin Laden, the world’s most wanted man bears some striking similarities to our local hunt for the escapees. The same way Mr. Bin Laden was found living comfortably in luxury in the midst of suburban Pakistan not far from its military school is the same way some of our escapes were found in the suburban Georgetown area of Lamaha Gardens, a few doors from the then Minister of Home Affairs. They were killed there.

The kidnapping of a former US Embassy employee saw the embassy issuing a one million dollar reward for the capture of Shawn Brown (one of the notorious escapees). However, less than a week after that Brown was traced to a luxurious home in another suburban part of Georgetown in an area called Prashad Nagar and was gunned down allegedly during a firefight with security forces.

While the joint services operation was combing the harsh backlands of Buxton, the escapees enjoyed life in very quiet neighborhoods in Georgetown. What was the support system offered to them and by whom? Was the jailbreak a quest for freedom or was there an underlying more sinister motive involved?

Mr. Khan himself is now in jail in the US and his trial revealed many things about the role of certain government ministers in his paramilitary organisation’s role in Guyana. The ‘thin’ brothers, Fine Man and Skinny, are all also off the scene, yet carefully organised drive-by shootings continue to occur.

Ronald Waddell, along with over 200 other Guyanese, was executed during that dark period in our history. A serving Minster of the Government was assassinated in 2006; a prominent businessman was abducted in 2008, clinically beheaded and subsequently dumped in the city. When government politicians talk about blood on the hands of other politicians from the 70s, what do they really mean? Is Guyana safer today than it was in the 1973? Has more blood been shed during this new era of democracy or when the PNC ruled?

The views expressed in this and other columns do not necessarily reflect the views of Demerara Waves.


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