The Final Chapter
Rondell ‘Fineman’ Rawlins laid to rest
Former wanted man Rondell ‘Fineman’ Rawlins was laid to rest in his home village of Tempe West Coast Berbice yesterday after a viewing at Lyken’s Memorial Chapel in Georgetown and a brief sojourn in Buxton where squibs were set off near the coffin.
There was a lower than expected turnout for Rawlins’s first public viewing since the gunman and Jermaine ‘Skinny’ Charles were killed by the Joint Services almost two weeks ago, while the numbers at the funeral service too were limited.
The 32-year-old Rawlins, who law enforcement authorities said headed the Buxton/ Agricola gang, was given an hour-long viewing at the chapel yesterday morning, which was attended by predominantly women.
Around 150 persons gathered to get a glimpse of the man who had driven fear into so many over the last few years, before he was whisked off to West Coast Berbice. Absent was the heavy police presence that had characterised the Agricola funeral of Charles last Thursday.
Standing at the head of the coffin, which was covered in a red, green and yellow flag bearing the image of a lion, Rawlins’s mother Margaret Rawlins and an elder sister stared at his remains.
Mostly restrained in her grief, when the R. Kelly song, The Storm Is Over Now began playing, the mother burst into tears as she softly muttered words and shook her head repeatedly. Rondell is the second child she has lost to the gun for the year. Back in February, her daughter Marcyn King was shot dead by unknown persons as she neared her home in Newtown, Kitty.
Dressed in a brown shirt, dark shades and a red, green and yellow hat, Rawlins’ badly damaged face bore witness to his confrontation with the Joint Services.
There was no mention of any wrongdoing that the man had been involved in and some of those gathered patted his relatives on the back and hugged them while urging them to be strong since “God knows best.” One well dressed young woman, burst into tears as she glanced at Rawlins and immediately turned away. She was still weeping when the coffin left the chapel.
Leaving the Lyken’s funeral home yesterday morning During the viewing, many curious persons, some untidily dressed walked in to get a glimpse of the deceased and having done so, either quickly left or lingered around on the road outside.
The man’s sister prevented anyone from attempting to take photos of Rawlins’s face, including the media. After the coffin left the Memorial Chapel, a small funeral cortège consisting of the hearse, a minibus and a few cars, made its way out of Georgetown and along the Embankment Road. As the vehicles passed there were reactions from some bystanders, but on the whole the procession aroused little interest. However, as the vehicles reached the village of Buxton, the drivers began to blow their horns to attract the attention of the villagers. Some on the road hailed the automobiles as they passed, while others were seen peering through their windows.
The procession continued through Buxton until there was a shout for it to stop. At this point someone was heard to call out, “Leh we see he, is we soldier.” The hearse then stopped and the coffin, still draped with a Rastafarian flag, was pulled out by a group of men and opened on the road. This prompted villagers to gather around, seeking a glimpse of the man who had once been labelled as Guyana’s ‘most wanted.’ Soon after, the coffin was removed and placed on a table underneath a shed at the side of the road, where more villagers congregated to get a view of the body. As more people assembled, there were shouts of, “Leh de man go long he way.”
Just before the coffin was returned to the hearse, a squib was set off. Another was ignited soon after, as the procession was about to set off again. In all, the cortège spent about 15 minutes in Buxton.
As in Georgetown, there was a noticeable absence of police along the Embankment Road, although a few officers could be seen along the Public Road in the vicinity of Turkeyen.
However, at Weldaad, Berbice a roadblock had been set up a stone’s throw away from the police station. The vehicles were stopped, the passengers asked to step out and detailed searches were carried out. The procession was further stalled when one of the cars was driven into the police station compound, but it was released shortly after. Stabroek News understands that the police were questioning the presence of a radio set in the car. At the mother’s house in Tempe, members of the Joint Services in vehicles circled the streets and plain clothes policemen could be seen taking pictures, videoing and even scribbling notes.
As the hearse turned into the street stopping at number 32, villagers from all directions (albeit in small numbers) headed to the house and surrounded the coffin. Another hour long viewing was the prelude to the service. The crowd at the funeral was nowhere near the size that had been noted on past occasions when notorious wanted men were buried. Many at the funeral yesterday speculated that persons might have been nervous about attending, or the distance to Berbice might have dissuaded some who would otherwise have made the trip.
The word around yesterday was that many of the persons who came to the funeral did not know ‘Fineman’ at all, but came out of curiosity or because they knew his family. Rawlins apparently left his hometown a long time ago and is not really known to the villagers. Although the pastor officiating at the service shied away from any reference to Rawlins’s activities, an uncle took it upon himself to make mention of them when the floor was opened to anyone who had anything to say.
The man said his nephew had been “painted by the police” as a criminal. “They projecting my nephew to be what he isn’t,” the man said. He was asked by one relative to stop but some members in the congregation said,” Leh the man talk.” His older sister told the mourners that she remembered her brother as a loving person, who read his Bible every day, and “that’s how I will remember him,” she said with tears in her eyes; “I thank God that the storm is now over.”
Rawlins’s mother put up a brave front until a sister sang a medley of songs. The sister’s stirring rendition of How Many More? apparently touched the woman and she had to be comforted by her son. The service ended shortly after Margaret Rawlins recited a poem and told the gathering that despite what her son was or had been portrayed, she would always love him.
“I wasn’t there, I do not know whether he was guilty of the things they say, I can’t say…but God is the final judge,” she said. Margaret Rawlins had told Stabroek News on an earlier occasion that she was hopeful that her son’s death would bring an end to the crime situation in the country, as he had been blamed for every crime in the country. Rondell Rawlins was buried in the Tempe cemetery.
Families identify ‘Fineman’, ‘Skinny’
Family members have positively identified the bodies of wanted men Rondell `Fineman’ Rawlins and Jermaine `Skinny’ Charles and post-mortem examinations are to be performed on Monday.
Charles and Rawlins were shot dead on Thursday by joint services ranks after they were cornered in an unfinished building in Kuru Kururu on the Soesdyke-Linden Highway after being pursued from Timehri. Another man Seon Grant was also killed in the confrontation. The joint services success in cornering Rawlins came after five long years of searching. During the period on the run he is alleged to have committed horrific slaughters including this year’s three massacres that claimed 31 lives.
Though under the spotlight, too, for multiple murders, Skinny attracted more attention after he escaped from lawful custody on June 25, following a court appearance at the Sparendaam Magistrate’s Court.
The mothers of both men have spoken on their deaths and even as both have come to accept it, they are hopeful that this indeed settles the crime situation in the country.
Rawlins’ mother, Margaret Rawlins, also lost her daughter, Marcyn King, in February this year at the hands of unknown gunmen. Rawlins said she learnt of the death of her son from a radio newscast yesterday. The woman said she recognized her son’s body right away and knew for sure that it was definitely him. She identified the body at the Georgetown Hospital Mortuary. She is hopeful that his death will bring an end to the crime situation in the country as she recounted that he had been blamed for every crime in the country.
The mother of Charles who prefers that her name not be mentioned told Stabroek News yesterday that from the time her son escaped from the Sparendaam lock-ups she prepared her mind to accept his death.
The woman told this newspaper that her sister identified her son’s body yesterday and there was no doubt that it was him. She said she was preparing for work on Thursday when she received a call relating that Seon Grant, who she had known from the East Bank area, had been killed. However a telephone call from a friend who kept questioning her about what she was doing seemed suspicious. “She ask me how I deh and I seh man I preparing for work and she say man Jermaine get kill and they didn’t want give me the message but I tell them I know they would have killed him and I accept his death,” the woman said. The woman told this newspaper calmly that she had come to accept that her son would have never been brought in alive, and insisted that there was so much that he hid from her,
“I accept his death because I make my child but I didn’t make his mind. If I could have done more to change his attitude I would have. People know I tried to stop this from happening, but he meant that he wanted to go his own way,” she said.
The single-parent mother of four said her eldest child would have turned 23 next Thursday and never wanted to see her cry. When she visited him at the prison and tears came to her eyes he would try to end the visit immediately.
The woman said Charles never confided in her and added that strangers would come and say things to her that she never knew about her son. “I know that people will talk and I cannot stop that but God knows that I tried my best and I never encouraged him with nonsense and nothing in my house was given to me by him, because I work hard for what I want,” she insisted.
The woman said she has not shed a single tear since learning of her son’s death and this was also the general mood of all of her relatives. However she said she could not bear to see his body and for this reason she sent her sister to identify the remains.
She had spoken with this newspaper several days after her son escaped from the lock-ups at Sparendaam and had denied that her son had ever made contact with her. She also denied police allegations that she and another of her children were involved in soliciting a firearm to aid the man’s escape. The woman had told Stabroek News that from an early age Charles chose to follow a certain pattern of life and had left her home and lived with several friends before she started hearing of his involvement in high- profile criminal activities.
Charles has been charged along with Dwight Da Silva, Quincy Evans, Terrence John, Delwayne Carrington and a boy for a number of other murders. He was charged along with Da Silva for the murder of Barbot Paul, the Kaneville, East Bank Demerara businessman who died outside his home on August 6. Charles was also accused of killing Devon Charles of Agricola on June 23, Guilford Henry on June 26, 2005 and 12-year-old Kevin Browne on March 18, 2006. He shared the murder charge for Browne with Dego France. Charles was also charged with Da Silva and Evans for being part of a group of men who allegedly murdered five Kaieteur News pressmen - Chetram Persaud, Eion Wegman, Richard Stewart, Mark Maikoo and Shazeem Mohamed in August 2006. It is also alleged that they killed Wordsworth Grey on August 8. The 15-year-old boy, who was 13 years then, was also charged for that murder. Charles was then charged for the murders of Minister Satyadeow Sawh, Rajpat Sawh, Phulmattie Persaud and Curtis Robinson on April 22 at La Bonne Intention East Coast Demerara.
Rawlins was also linked to several raids on East Coast villages. But it was in February 2006 that Rawlins gained further notoriety. Police had said that he was part of the 15-member gang that brought terror to Agricola on February 26, 2006 killing eight people and attempting to blow up a gas station. Reports at the time indicated that over a dozen gunmen under his command, reportedly dropped off in cars, blocked off a section of the road at Mc Doom and at Eccles and carried out a one-hour assault on residents of Agricola and Eccles.
Some of the men walked to Two Brothers Gas station where they launched an attack aimed at burning it down. They then unleashed a volley of shots at three MMC security guards whose vehicle was having air put into its tyres at the time. The three men, Sheldon Smartt, Cedric Dummett and Loris Semple died on the spot. Rawlins was said to have unleashed the massacres this year after a female friend, Tenisha Morgan went missing
Guyana’s ‘most wanted’ takes secrets to his grave
Posted August 29th. 2008 - Kaieteur News
Who assisted Rondell Rawlins and his gang to steal 33 high-powered weapons from the Guyana Defence Force?
Where are the millions in cash and gold that the gang amassed during its three-year reign of terror?
And who really carried out the Lindo Creek killings?
These are some of the questions that have been left unanswered following the death of Rawlins and his cohorts Jermaine ‘Skinny’ Charles and Sean Grant.
Rawlins came to notoriety after the jailbreak escapees and several other gunmen operating out of Buxton were killed. According to intelligence reports, ‘Fine Man’, as he was called, soon developed a reputation for ruthlessness.
It is said that he chopped off the head of an Agricola man who had caused the police to intercept a cache of arms belonging to his gang.
Informants were reportedly shot and set alight.
In 2007, 33 AK-47 assault rifles disappeared from the Guyana Defence Force’s Camp Ayanganna base.
At least half of the weapons were recovered from slain gang members. But the Joint Services have failed to arrest the persons who actually moved the weapons, or to explain how exactly they left the army base undetected.
The Rawlins gang is also believed to have carried out the daring bank robberies in New Amsterdam, Berbice.
Some of the bank robbers were killed and some of the loot was recovered.
However, the elusive Rawlins and others escaped. The gang is said to have carted off a huge cache of gold from Bartica after killing 12 people in the community.
The safes—minus the loot—were recently recovered at Makouria.
The Joint Services found no large arms cache or money when they killed Rawlins yesterday.
During yesterday’s press conference, Acting Police Commissioner Henry Greene revealed that the Joint Services gleaned crucial information from Rawlins’ diary, which was found at the gang’s Christmas Falls hideout.
According to Greene, this information assisted the Joint Services to identify and arrest several people who assisted the gang, including persons who harboured and fed the gunmen.
A few months ago, President Bharrat Jagdeo had stated that he had viewed a tape which showed some prominent people meeting with some of the Buxton gunmen.
He had indicated that many persons would be embarrassed if the tape was released, and had even hinted that the culprits would be prosecuted.
And the debate is likely to continue over the gang’s alleged involvement in the murders of the eight miners whose burnt remains were found at Lindo Creek.
Acting Police Commissioner Henry Greene had stated that an eyewitness had implicated Rawlins in the murders. There are also reports that Rawlins had boasted that he had killed the miners.
According to the police, ballistics tests on two spent shells at the scene also linked the gunmen to that crime.
But George Arokium, who managed the camp, is adamant that persons other then Rawlins killed his crew.
This led to speculation that some rogue Joint Services members slaughtered the miners and made off with gold from the camp.
The truth about the fate of the unfortunate miners, and other questions about Guyana’s most notorious criminal may now never be known.
Five-year ‘Fineman’ operation ends in his death
Posted August 29th. 2008 - Stabroek News
Five years after gaining notoriety when police published a wanted bulletin for his arrest in the midst of the Camp Street prison escapee-led crime wave in June 2003, Rondell ‘Fineman’ Rawlins finally met his end, shot dead by members of the Joint Services yesterday. During his criminal career, he had sparked fear in the heart of the nation, accused of committing horrific crimes, including the execution of a serving minister of Government, and the three massacres this year that left 31 persons dead.
Dubbed by police as the leader of the Agricola/Buxton criminal gang, the Agricola, East Bank Demerara-born resident has been on the run since 2003 and while several of his associates had been captured or killed, Rawlins managed to survive. He gained notoriety when police published a wanted bulletin for his arrest in the midst of the escapee-led crime wave in June 2003. Police had said that Rawlins was wanted for a series of robberies. Still in his early twenties when the bulletin was published for his arrest, Rawlins is said to have grown up in the Agricola community with his siblings and other relatives. Not much is known about his schooling and his childhood days.
Rawlins was said to have been involved in armed robberies and when the prison escapees were on the loose he was drafted in as a look-out mainly based in Agricola. Soon, some of the escapees were killed and Rawlins found himself in Buxton taking charge of small groups who were also part of the criminal gang. He was linked to a number of high-profile assaults including the one in 2005 in which Agricola resident David Barrow was beheaded.
In that attack, Barrow, Shamika Boyce and a Paul Persaud called “Yankee’ were killed. Barrow called ‘Gurple’ was said to have been the “biggest name” in the village.
Rawlins was also linked to several raids on East Coast villages. But it was in February 2006 that Rawlins gained further notoriety. Police had said that he was part of the 15-member gang that brought terror to Agricola on February 26, 2006 killing eight people and attempting to blow up a gas station. Reports at the time indicate that over a dozen gunmen under his command, reportedly dropped off in cars, blocked off a section of the road at Mc Doom and at Eccles and carried out a one-hour assault on residents of Agricola and Eccles. Some of the men walked to Two Brothers Gas station where they launched an attack aimed at burning it down. They then unleashed a volley of shots at three MMC security guards whose vehicle was having air put into its tyres at the time. The three men, Sheldon Smartt, Cedric Dummett and Loris Semple died on the spot.
Following the execution of the guards, the gunmen walked into Agricola where they apprehended Hannah Cameron and David Brummel in their homes. The elderly couple was shot several times and Brummel’s throat was sliced. They were then set alight on their bed. A similar assault was carried out at Caesar Street, Agricola where Assistant Town Clerk, Lavern Scott-Garraway was shot and her body burnt. The gunmen went to the home and asked for her husband, David Scott, who wasn’t there at the time. They then demanded money, but before the woman reacted she was riddled with bullets and her house set on fire. Stabroek News was told at that time that it was clear that the gunmen knew who their targets were. One resident had told this newspaper that persons had gone around the village a few days before warning villagers of the attack. Cameron’s grandson Fenton Rudder and Cecil Duncan of Kitty were also killed.
Police had linked the killings to the Buxton criminal gang and had assembled a team of detectives to investigate the slaughter. They had said that Rawlins was behind the attack. Then on the morning of April 22, 2006 seven masked gunmen dressed in military fatigues invaded the home of the then Agriculture Minister, Satyadeow Sawh and riddled him, his two siblings, Phulmattie Persaud and Rajpat Sawh and his guard Curtis Robertson, with bullets.
Reports were that the minister’s wife, Sattie and his brother, Omprakash, were in the kitchen around 12.15 am when they saw a masked gunman through the window. Sattie had said that she alerted the minister who was in his hammock on the veranda, but before he could have scampered to safety, he was shot. He collapsed just inside his front door. Omprakash hid his sister Phulmattie Persaud underneath a bed, but the gunmen found her and dragged her out. Omprakash had said that he begged the men for his sister’s life and gave them $23,000, a digital camera and a watch, but they still shot her in the face.
The gunmen then turned their guns on the minister again and at the same time placed Omprakash on top of Rajpat to execute them both. He said he and his brother were praying for their lives and as the gunmen left they fired shots killing Rajpat. Since the incident police have issued several wanted bullets for persons including the late notorious prison escapee Troy Dick. Jermaine ‘Skinny’ Charles, one of the two men killed with Rawlins yesterday, was in December 2006 also charged with the minister’s murder. He was remanded to prison.
In January last year, police had offered a reward of $2 million for information leading to the arrests of seven men, they had said were wanted in connection with the investigation into the murder of Sawh, other murders and serious offences. Rawlins was listed among those, who were wanted.
Rawlins’ name surfaced again in 2007 in connection with the slaying of two men at a beer garden on Agriculture Road, Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara. Reports are that five men armed with rifles carried out the attack, killing Fazal Hakim and Rajesh Singh, while robbing Narendra Mukhram the owner of the beer garden.
Apart from the more mind-chilling crimes, there had been claims by many robbery victims that he was among the bandits who attacked them. 2008 was a year, unmatched in ferocity, as attacks were launched on a scale that shocked and left the nation scarred. Three massacres, 32 men, women and children dead and citizens in a state of mourning. The name Rawlins was spoken about with fear. It started with the disappearance of his purported pregnant girlfriend, Tenisha Morgan on January 18. Police said that a man purporting to be Rawlins contacted the Criminal Investigation Department headquarters several days later issuing threats if the girl was not found. Morgan had travelled to Georgetown as it was near time for her to give birth. She disappeared and her whereabouts is still unknown.
That very night gunmen engaged the army in Buxton killing one soldier and wounding another during a 20-minute shootout.
Two days later, they turned their attention on the police and on the night of January 25, in one of the most brazen attacks in recent history, gunmen blasted three policemen manning the western gate at the Police Headquarters, Eve Leary, hitting two in their legs and leaving the force scrambling to protect its base. Police Commissioner, Henry Greene had told this newspaper that Rawlins was believed to have upped the ante against the security forces following the alleged abduction of Morgan.
In the wee hours of January 26, the East Coast Village of Lusignan was hit. A large band of gunmen slaughtered 11 persons, including five children in the community. Those killed were 48-year-old Clarence Thomas, his 12-year-old daughter Vanessa Thomas and his son Ron Thomas; 32-year-old Mohandai Gourdat and her two sons, four-year-old Seegobind Harrilall and ten-year-old Seegopaul Harrilall; 22-year-old Shazam Mohamed; 55-year-old Shaleem Baksh; and Seecharran Rooplall, 56, his wife, Dhanrajie Ramsingh, 52, and their 11-year-old daughter, Raywattie Ramsingh.
One day after, Police offered a $30 million reward for Rawlins capture and several days later upped this to $50M, the highest reward the force had ever offered for one man.
The nightmare however continued on the night of February 17. In an hour long brutalizing attack, over a dozen gunmen stormed the police station in the interior community. Around 9.45 that night, an estimated 15-20 gunmen rampaged through Bartica. Reports were that three of the men were left to guard the river while more than ten others assaulted the community in the hour-long attack. The police outpost was first attacked and three officers, Lance Corporal Zaheer Zakir and Constables Shane Fredericks, Ron Osborne were killed while two others were seriously wounded. The gang of gunmen carted off several firearms and ammunition from two strongboxes at the outpost.
As the gunmen moved through the community, they shot dead 72-year-old security guard, Irving Ferreira even as he attempted to flee. The other persons killed in the attack were Bartica residents Edwin Gilkes and Dexter Adrian; Deonarine Singh, who was from Wakenaam; Ronald Gomes of Kuru Kururu, Ashraf Khan of Middlesex Essequibo, Abdool Yasin, Errol Thomas of Tuschen, East Bank Essequibo and Baldeo Singh of Montrose East Coast Demerara, who were shot execution style at the Transport and Harbours Stelling. The gunmen also stole safes, guns and ammunition. Rawlins name was called again.
On June 6, nearly three months after the attack on Bartica, the Joint Services on the basis of intelligence they had received located Rawlins’s camp at Christmas Falls, some 300 miles up the Berbice River. According to the lawmen, the gunmen opened fire on them, and in the exchange one gang member was killed, and six others fled. Subsequently, three other men associated with the gang were killed by the Joint Services in Region 10.
But another shock awaited the nation. The burnt bodies of eight miners were found at Lindo Creek. They were believed to be the burnt remains of Clifton Wong, Nigel Torres, Cecil Arokium, Compton Speirs, Bonny Harry, Horace Drakes, Dax Arokium and Lancelot Lee. The gruesome act was believed to have occurred in early June but the remains were not discovered until June 21 by the owner of the mine, Leonard Arokium. It is believed that one or more of the men may have been tortured before being killed and their bodies burnt along with all their possessions at the camp site. The question of who carried out that slaughter was mired in controversy as Arokium had blamed the Joint Services but they had strongly denied this. They blamed Rawlins and his gang.
Since the attacks this year, several persons have been charged in connection with the killings but Rawlins had managed to elude capture. That ended yesterday.
Charles escaped from custody at the Sparendaam Magistrate’s Court on June 25th. Charles had appeared at Sparendaam for the continuation of the PI into the slayings at the home of Minister Sawh.
According to reports, after “Skinny” had appeared before Magistrate Yohhanseh Cave, he was taken downstairs to the holding area in the police station and disappeared afterwards. Police ranks only realized that the man was missing when they were lining up the other prisoners to take them back to the Camp Street prisons. Onlookers related that the police then launched a frantic search which turned out to be futile. One woman told Stabroek News that she went to the station to look after some personal matters but was asked to wait outside of the compound. She said she was not aware of the reason but heard persons saying that “some prisoner like he escape.”
Another man said that he saw the police peering underneath the station which is about two feet off the ground. He added that he heard some ranks saying that they saw prints in the “sappy” ground under the flooring of the station which would indicate that “Skinny” escaped via a loose floor board and then crawled out unnoticed.
Charles has been charged along with Dwight Da Silva, Quincy Evans, Terrence John, Delwayne Carrington and a boy who is now 15-years-old for a number of other murders. He was charged along with Da Silva for the murder of Barbot Paul, the Kaneville, East Bank Demerara businessman who was shot and killed outside his home on August 6. Charles is also accused of killing Devon Charles of Agricola on June 23, Guilford Henry on June 26, 2005 and 12-year-old Kevin Browne on March 18, 2006. He shares the murder charge for Browne with Dego France. Charles is also charged with Da Silva and Evans for being part of a group of men who allegedly murdered five Kaieteur News pressmen - Chetram Persaud, Eion Wegman, Richard Stewart, Mark Maikoo and Shazeem Mohamed in August 2006.
It is also alleged that they killed Wordsworth Grey on August 8. The 15-year-old boy, who was 13 years then, was also charged for that murder. Charles was then charged for the murders of Sawh, Rajpat Sawh, Phulmattie Persaud and Curtis Robinson on April 22 at La Bonne Intention (LBI) East Coast Demerara. David Leander, called ‘Biscuit’, was also charged separately with the LBI slayings.
Charles had a three-hour lead before a manhunt was launched for him. The loose board was something the station sergeant had knowledge about over a month ago, the police admitted.
Greene speaking at a press conference at his office on the prisoner’s escape told reporters that the police were convinced that the man’s escape was well planned.
‘Fineman’, ‘Skinny’ killed in police operation
Posted August 29th. 2008 - Stabroek News
Following months of frenetic and bloody pursuit, police yesterday said they shot and killed Rondell `Fineman’ Rawlins and escaped prisoner and multiple murder accused, Jermaine `Skinny’ Charles in an almost seven-hour-long operation starting at Timehri.
Another man identified as Seon Grant of Timehri Squatting area was also killed in the process. He was identified by relatives. Up to late yesterday the police had not completed any fingerprint matching for the slain men, but acting police commissioner Henry Greene noted that the men were positively identified by two prison officers.
At a press conference called hours after the dramatic events, Greene told the media at Police headquarters, Timehri that acting upon information received at about 5:45 yesterday morning two teams from the Joint Services Operation Group and the Guyana Defence Force Special Force along with members of the special forces proceeded to an area in Timehri about 500 metres east of the GDF ammunition dump when they came under fire from shooters in an identifiable house.
According to Greene in that first confrontation, GDF Corporal Cush was shot in his right hand. He said ranks returned fire having seen three men running from the house and when they descended upon the scene they found the body of a man who was rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPH) where he was pronounced dead on arrival. The man was identified as Grant.
Ranks then continued their search for the other men.
The two men ended up in Kuru Kururu at a place villagers call Kakabura and at about 12:45 pm, police said the team came under fire from a small unfinished concrete structure. There was an exchange of gunfire and two men, later identified as Rawlins and Charles were killed.
Greene said the men were taken to the mortuary where they were pronounced dead on arrival. A search of the structure revealed two AK 47 rifles and 215 7.62 by 39 rounds contained in seven magazines. One of the weapons have since been confirmed as one of those which went missing from army base Camp Ayanganna back in 2006.
According to a police source, who saw the bodies there was no serious injury to the faces of the two men but Charles’ arm had serious injuries.
Rawlins had a visible nick on one side of the face, the source said. Further, this newspaper was told that Rawlins sustained a gunshot wound to the back of the head. Stabroek News understands that the dead man had a goatee.
Meanwhile Greene made it clear that he was cognisant of the fact that there were still many gang members out there and said that the police’s success in capturing what he called the “point man” of the gang did not mean that the search was over.
To this end he urged that the other gang members turn themselves in and face the full force of the law and reiterated that “we are by no means giving up the search.” Flanked by army Chief of Staff, Commodore Gary Best, Greene told reporters that the police have been able to identify Rawlins as the gang leader over the years and noted that the more prominent leaders of the gang have already been killed from October last year to date.
Malcom Allen called Coolie Boy, Aubrey Glasgow called Dread, Noel James called Baby, Orlando Andrews called Bullet, Troy St. John called John Eye, Otis Fifee, Cecil Ramcharran and Robin are among gang members killed.
Greene also said there are about 25 gang members and persons who have supported them in one way or another and are currently in the Georgetown Prisons. He noted that while some of the men were known to the police and may have been convicted on offences in the past, they have not been heard from over time and so were not prominent. In the list of still-wanted men Greene listed several names including Sunny, Richard Daniels called “Chucky”, a man known as “Not Nice”, Leon Cort called “Capone”, a man known as White Boy, Ratty, James Gibson and one known only as Kenny.
However with this latest killing, especially of wanted man Rawlins, Greene said he feels that the gang has been shaken and likened the police’s success in slaying the man who has been able to evade them for some time, as the proverbial “breaking of the camel’s back”. “We feel we have broken the camel’s back where this gang is concerned,” he asserted.
Recounting the intelligence received which he labelled as “an integrated approach,” Commodore Best said that the army responded based on the information it received. He said when that information pointed to the fact that the men were staying somewhere in Timehri, he said he figured that they would want to assemble not far from the army base.
Asked about his feeling in light of the revelation that the men’s temporary abode was mere metres away from the army’s ammo dump, Best said he was concerned but noted that he had no information so far as to whether the men had any intention of attacking the base. However he noted that it was not something that he would put past them, since the concern of criminals of that nature were to always keep their ammunition stores going.
Since June when the police reportedly had their last positive sighting of Rawlins, following information they received which pointed to Christmas Falls, the man had been able to evade capture, despite countless joint services operations, searches and road blocks in several areas in and out of the city.
Questioned in that regard, Best responded, “let me start at the end, there is no more Fineman and Skinny… indeed they managed to get past the joint services.”
“In any event these were hard men, hard fighters. In the end the joint services won, we won out and it is not over as the commissioner said because there are other criminal elements at large. The joint services continue to conduct its operation and work towards keeping the country safe … I don’t see a let up of this operation for the Joint Services,” Best asserted.
Asked about his concern that many of the weapons being recovered in the hand of criminals have been traced to the army, Best noted that there is a concern but said the ammunition found with the men was old.
He further stated that recent finds on many criminals have produced less and less ammunition but cautioned that he was not suggesting that more ammunition was still not out there and in the hands of the wrong people.