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The Sheema Mangar murder…Guyana Police Force bungled investigation from the beginning

February 2, 2012 Leave a comment

FEBRUARY 2, 2012 | BY KNEWS | FILED UNDER NEWS

By Dale Andrews  

Lies, deceit, blame throwing are terms that characterize the case of the murdered Demerara Bank

SHEEMA MANGAR

employee, Sheema Mangar.
And investigators, being urged to forget their ultra reliance on the results of forensic tests and press on with their investigation, are admitting that they have reached a dead end and nothing can be done unless new evidence emerges.
It’s been more than a year since Mangar was dragged to her death by a car in which the man who had snatched her Blackberry phone was escaping and her mother, Radica Thakoor, has almost given up hope that local police will solve the case given the distrust she has developed.
Amidst all the misleading information she has been fed by those in authority, Thakoor is convinced that only a completely new approach where witnesses are sought, will lead to some satisfactory conclusion of all the circumstances surrounding her daughter’s death, including the identification of the killer.
Samples of what appeared to be blood and a piece of fabric found on the two cars that were impounded did not match the victim’s DNA and clothing respectively.
“The police are to be blamed. Why wait a whole year relying on just the samples?” the mother asked.
According to the woman, the police kept telling her that they were waiting on the results of tests being done on the samples, as if that was the only aspect of the investigation that was important.
“They had built my hopes up and everywhere you go they were telling you they were waiting on the samples. They appeared so positive that that would have led to something, now we are back to square one,” Thakoor added.
She said that she could not believe her eyes when she read in the papers that the tests on the samples were negative.
One detective who was handling the matter initially put it in perspective, noting that solving a crime lies with the investigators.
He explained that after Mangar’s death, police had impounded two cars which crime scene technicians examined for evidence that could connect them to the crime scene or the victim.
On one vehicle a piece of broken hair was found while on the other vehicle a piece of green fabric was recovered.
Mangar’s uniform she was wearing the day she died had a greenish tint, so investigators had to consider the possibility that the piece of fabric could have come from her uniform.
A red spot was also identified on one vehicle and was collected as a suspected blood stain.
The detective pointed out that the investigation suffered a setback in the initial stages since Sheema Mangar was not accompanied to the hospital by a police rank, “therefore if she was able to make a dying declaration, no police rank was there to record what she had to say.”
Additionally no one was present at the hospital to collect her clothing, consequently only the jacket of her uniform was collected.
“She may have been wearing under garments, but these would have been discarded along with her skirt as the medical personnel focused their efforts on saving her life. The possibility of matching the green piece of garment recovered from the car to her clothing was therefore limited to a comparison with just the jacket she was wearing,” the detective explained.
A point to consider was the fact that the police had impounded two vehicles, on which they found what appeared to be blood stain and a piece of cloth.
But now that the results of those tests have returned negative, any hope of conclusively connecting Sheema Mangar to any of the vehicles disappeared.
So why all the controversy?
First, some senior officials of the Guyana Police Force assured the victim’s family that the Barbados laboratory had promised to deliver the DNA results by January 2012. We are now in February.
Secondly, when the negative results were eventually received from the DNA profiling of the suspected bloodstains, the police informed Mangar’s relatives that their analyst who was sent to Barbados forgot to take the hair samples with him. However this newspaper was informed that the analyst had deliberately left it behind since it had no root and therefore there was no way that the Barbados laboratory could have done any conclusive test.
Then the administration had given the impression that the crime could have been solved by a laboratory test in Guyana or Barbados, when in fact this turned out not to be the case.
“Crimes are solved by investigators, and the reason why the samples were sent to Barbados was in the hope that they may prove to be similar to those taken from the crime scene or the victim’s uniform so as to breathe new life into the investigation,” the detective told Kaieteur News.
He said that, in the meantime, investigators must shoulder the responsibility for seeking out eyewitnesses who can provide an accurate description of the vehicle involved, including if possible, the registration number, and also a description of the assailant.
Interestingly, the vehicle impounded were both Toyotas but different models- one an AT 192 and the other an AT 212. This clearly suggests that investigators are not too sure what type of vehicle was involved in the crime in the first place and there is definitely need for a more precise description of the vehicle involved.
For her part, Mangar’s mother does not intend to give up since she believes that there is still someone out there who could assist the police.
“Even though she cannot come back, I hope my efforts will bring about change in the way the police do their job,” Thakoor said.

http://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/2012/02/02/the-sheema-mangar-murder%E2%80%A6cops-bungled-investigation-from-the-beginning/

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Shaik Baksh it’s ok for children to use pit latrines in schools

September 9, 2011 1 comment

Pit latrines part of developing country syndrome, Sukhai says
By STABROEK STAFF

– ‘child-friendly infrastructure’ needed
Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai, says she “suspects” that some schools in Guyana still use pit latrines because the country is still developing economically and “still grappling with removing ourselves from the level of a developing country and moving towards a higher level… which is a challenge to the government.”

Speaking to Stabroek News on the issue, following the death last week of a nine-year-old girl after she fell into a pit latrine, Sukhai said placing child-friendly infrastructure in schools needed to be examined.

The issue of pit latrines has become a matter of public debate following the tragic death of Tenesha De Souza last Monday. The child fell into a pit latrine at the Santa Rosa Primary School at Moruca on her first day of school and subsequently died. Her parents and a number of individuals and organisations have since called for flush toilets to be installed at all schools. The parents have said that they did not want any other parent to endure the hurt they were forced to suffer, following the death of their eldest child and only daughter.

However, while these calls are being made, Minister of Education, Shaik Baksh, has told Stabroek News that his ministry did not intend to phase-out the use of pit latrines in schools since they were internationally accepted as proper sanitary disposal. He had added though that maybe in another few years the issue would be addressed, but it would be a very expensive exercise.

Sukhai, while calling the death of De Souza a tragic and unfortunate one, said “we as a government” need to “examine further the preparing of child-friendly infrastructure particularly as it relates to education.

“We all consider it a tragedy in the case of Santa Rosa. Again, I would want to say it was very unfortunate. It may not be a prevalent incident, but it is … one too many. That is what I would say; we cannot say it doesn’t concern us,” Sukhai said.

She said that while her ministry was not entirely responsible for the infrastructure of schools, “I wouldn’t say it is not a concern to us… due to the fact that a child died in a pit latrine [we cannot] divorce ourselves from having any concern at all.”

She said the government, “may not be able to address the conversion of all pit latrines to flush toilets or what we call it – water closets, but definitely I think we would have to consider for the future, making more safer facilities available to our children.”

She added that this should not only apply to schools and children but also to institutions for differently-abled persons and the elderly.
“I think generally while we would still have to work and live with many communities using pit latrines, I am sure that our policy makers need to examine, for the future, how we [would] move from where we are. I suppose as Guyana is able to acquire more resources that we will be able to improve on it.”

Meanwhile, well-known Amerindian rights advocate, Guy Marco, commenting on the issue on Stabroek News’ website said the village council of Moruca “should stop the villagers from sending their children to school until workers from the Ministry of Education arrive there with at least one toilet bowl and other materials to begin working on the flushable toilet.” He said there was no excuse since Moruca was one of the locations that was “within reach easily.”

“If the government can spend so much millions of dollars to create an Amer-indian Village for Carifesta… And since the President [Bharrat Jagdeo) himself said that he would not hesitate if he had to do it again… Then Mr President we don’t want another village to be built but just buy us one toilet bowl, materials to build the septic tank and pay the workers,” Marco said.

He pointed out that two persons from Moruca have since been made Amerindian Affairs ministers and questioned why they “couldn’t negotiate with the government for at least two more flushable toilets?”

The school has two flush toilets. One is currently out of order, but they are only for teachers’ use.

Meanwhile, the parents of the child, Robin and Vanessa De Souza said they are still grappling with the tragedy. They lamented that they almost lost her eight years ago when she fell into a pond, resulting in the loss of her speech, and as such, it was hard to accept that she died when she fell into a pit latrine on her first day at school.

http://www.stabroeknews.com/2008/archives/09/11/pit-latrines-part-of-developing-country-syndrome-sukhai-says/