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Guyanese Should Welcome the Government Inquiry into the “Lindo Creek murders”

Map identifying Ituni (top Left) Kwakwani (top right), Lindo Creek, just above Christmas Falls (bottom)
The Lindo Creek Victims

The Government of Guyana last week appointed retired Justice Donald Trotman to lead a Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the Lindo Creek Massacre which claimed the lives of eight miners, allegedly at the hands of the Joint Services some 10 years ago.

Lindo Creek Murders

In the early morning hours of June 21, 2008, the burnt bodies of eight miners were discovered in the Lindo Creek Berbice River area at a diamond mining camp. The bodies were found wrapped in tarpaulin by the camp owner Dean Arokium. Two of the victims were related to Arokium, his son, Dax Arokium, 29; and a brother, Cedric Arokium called ‘Brother’, 51. Additional victims were Clifton Wong known as ‘Berry’, 46; Lancelot Lee nicknamed ‘Piggy’, 42; Compton Spires called ‘Tona’, 58; Horace Drakes or ‘Pona’, 40; Bonny Harry, 48 and Nigel Torres, 17.

According to reports, shortly after the discovery of the bodies, Dean Arokium stated he believed his crew was slain between Friday, June 13 and Monday, June 16, in what he concluded was a case of robbery and murder. That conclusion was based on his knowledge of the last time he made contact with his men, and, information from an individual who traversed the area who informed him that he spoke with the miners no earlier than Thursday, June 12, and they were planning to wash for diamonds on Saturday June 14, 2008. Also his knowledge of operations of members of the law enforcement in the area around the same time as the murders.

According to the police, the Lindo Creek murders took place sometime after June 6, 2008, and were carried out by members of the “Fine Man” (Rondell Rawlins) gang.  The police timeline indicates that on June 6, they encountered Rondell Rawlins called ‘Fine Man’ and his gang during a confrontation at Christmas Falls during which one gang member was killed and six others escaped.

The Police theory continues that on Monday June 16, 2008, a group of gunmen believed to be part of the Fine Man gang, hijacked a busload of passengers on the Aroaima trail that traverses on the western side of the Berbice River from Kwakwani, and connects several of the mining communities, then crosses the Berbice River south of Christmas Falls. Later that day another two gang members, Cecil Ramcharran, called ‘Uncle Willie’, and Robin Chung, called ‘Chung Boy’,  were killed at Goat Farm, an area on the left bank of the Berbice River some 90 kilometres from Arokium’s camp.

According to police reports, a 15-year-old boy who was said to be a member of the gang was arrested on the June 16, not far away from Ituni. The boy allegedly told the Police that he and four companions had crossed the Berbice River on a makeshift raft some time on Thursday night, June 12. Further, he said the four companions left him in the bush alone and he walked for three days to the location where he was arrested.

Another alleged gang member, identified as Sean Grant, called ‘Troyee’ was shot dead in a gunfire exchange at Timehri on August 28. After a police pursuit, two men later identified as Rondell “Fine Man” Rawlins and Jermaine “Skinny” Charles were also killed on August 28, in a shoot-out with members of the Joint Services at Kuru Kururu on the Soesdyke/Linden Highway.

The Lindo Creek murders were part of a brutal crime wave that engulfed Guyana resulting in hundreds dead and few individuals facing the justice system. We hope that perhaps now a Commission has been tasked with looking into this vicious crime, we will learn what happened and will see more Commissions established to look into other unsolved murders.

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