Bounty on Guyanaese Indians’ killer

By Paras Ramoutar, IANS

Port of Spain : The government of Guyana has offered a reward of $150,000 for fugitive Rondell Rawlins who is believed to be behind the massacre of 11 people of Indian origin last Saturday.

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An official of the Guyana Police Tuesday confirmed that Rawlins, a former soldier of the Guyana Defence Force, was on the run and all efforts were being made to capture him dead or alive.

There are reports that he is dead, but police cannot confirm this.

Guyanese of Indian origin are in a state of shock since the Saturday massacre of the 11 people in Lusignan village, about 15 km from capital Georgetown. Most residents of the village are of Indian origin.

Police believe that Rawlins, who belongs to the Buxton community that is dominated by Guyanese Blacks, is behind the murder of the people.

The Buxton community is known as the hotbed for racial strife, killings and protests against the Indian-led government. And Rawlins had last week allegedly threatened mayhem if the Georgetown Criminal Investigations Department (CID) failed to find his pregnant 19-year-old girlfriend, who has gone missing.

The ethnic Indian community has launched protests, condemning the government for failing to offer them safety and security.

President Bharrat Jagdeo has sought assistance from the United States and other developed nations to provide more aid to the country’s impoverished security forces. The roughly 3,000 police officers and 2,000 soldiers of the country are ill equipped to handle the threat posed by increasingly brazen gangs.

Former Trinidad and Tobago deputy prime minister and now leader of the Congress of the People (COP) Winston Dookeran has called on the Caribbean government to offer Guyana assistance in this hour of need.

“Given Guyana’s unique and turbulent history, it is our duty as Caribbean people to do whatever we can to assist in the protection of the Guyanese state,” Dookeran said.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Patrick Manning holds the portfolio for security in the Caricom regional grouping.

“As such, it may be time that the Regional Security Task Force be placed on standby, thereby marshalling resources, so that assistance could be provided to the Guyanese people at a moment’s notice upon the request of the Guyanese government,” Dookeran said.