The callousness in treating with relatives of Lindo Creek massacre victims is reprehensible:
This is appalling and disgraceful. And certain people in the APNU+AFC coalition get upset when criticized. Is this how you treat your supporters; aggrieved relatives still enduring the trauma of this massacre? We are better than this! At least the families deserve an explanation why compensation has not been executed as recommended by the COI. I’m one of the first persons Mr. Leonard Arokium spoke to about this case. We’ve made many representations on this matter over the past 11 years. This government deserves credit for the COI. But it is frustrating that the families haven’t had closure.
Families of the slain miners of Lindo Creek are again appealing to President David Granger to bring closure to the traumatic episode.
Eight miners were slaughtered back in 2008 at a camp at Lindo Creek, located up the Berbice River.
President David Granger (right) receiving the report from retired Justice Donald Trotman in August last year.
There were suspicions that army ranks were involved.
A Commission of Inquiry (CoI) led by retired Justice Donald Trotman submitted a report to President David Granger last year August. It recommended, among other things, that families be compensated.
Earlier this year, the families met with the Attorney General Chambers.
However, it appears more than a decade later, the closure that the families of the eight men were looking for will not happen soon.
The situation is angering the families with a scathing Letter to the Editor sent to Kaieteur News yesterday.
The statement pointed to last week’s radio interview between President David Granger and Stan Gouveia.
Families are appealing President David Granger to release the CoI report of the Lindo Creek massacre to them.
During that interview, the families said, President Granger made reference to the CoI of the deaths and massacres during the 2002-2008 during which over 400 citizens were killed.
“You intimated that nearly all of the CoIs could not have been completed because of a lack of evidence and witnesses not coming forward to testify. In the case of the Lindo Creek CoI which was completed over a year ago, this was not the case.
“We are confident that a successful CoI was completed and the report and recommendations were submitted to your office,” the letter pointed out.
The families made it clear that they are not happy with the stance of government.
Le Repentir Cemetery is the final resting place for the remains of the Lindo Creek massacre victims.
“About four months ago, a meeting was hurriedly convened by the Attorney General to address the recommendations of the CoI. This was a complete sham and a waste of time and a full blown insult to all the relatives present at the meeting. We were so embarrassed when no one knew of any or seen a published report of the CoI but was asked comment on same.”
The families said that there was a royal runaround when they tried to see President Granger.
“Now that you would have made a public statement, I think we can have a happy Christmas by you ensuring that a copy of the CoI report is made public to us,” the statement said.
It was only in late 2012, four years after they were killed, that the charred remains of the miners were laid to rest the Le Repentir Cemetery.
The remains of Dax Arokium, his uncle Cedric Arokium, Compton Speirs, Horace Drakes, Clifton Wong, Lancelot Lee, Bonny Harry and Nigel Torres were packed into three coffins and laid to rest in three separate graves in the cemetery.
This was after spending in excess of $40M (or $700,000 per month) to store the remains until the DNA tests that were being conducted in Jamaica were completed.
On June 21, 2008, dredge owner Leonard Arokium discovered the charred remains of eight of his employees in a burnt-out camp at Lindo Creek, Berbice River.
There was controversy over who actually killed the miners, with the owner of the camp and the security forces coming up with different theories.
Arokium claimed that he had received a phone call from a woman who told him that “some soldiers” had shot and killed his men and burnt their bodies.
The Joint Services categorically denied the claims made by the dredge owner that soldiers committed the brutal crime.
Police had blamed the attack on Rondell ‘Fineman’ Rawlins and his gang, whom they said they had encountered during a confrontation at Christmas Falls a few weeks prior to the gruesome discovery.
Rawlins and members of his gang were subsequently hunted down and killed.
The matter died until the family petitioned the Coalition Government of Granger with the CoI under retired Justice Donald Trotman ordered.