residents shut down East Demerara thoroughfare,
for return of Roger Khan and Gajraj;
Jagdeo to go
Mondale Smith, Michael
Carter and Nadia
from the normally quiet community of Lusignan
yesterday burned tyres and blocked the major
thoroughfare, as well as streets, to vent their rage
at the slaughter
of 11 of their own, including five
Marauding gunmen descended on the village, kicking in
doors and killing people, some of whom were in bed
asleep, early yesterday morning.
By sunrise, residents rang bells and sounded gongs
along the East Coast Demerara Public Road, while
others of various ages, with tears flowing, pounded on
“We want Roger Khan, Gajraj and guns!” and
“Jagdeo and Rohee must go!” were their constant
chants as they gave vent to their anger and
Government ministers and members of the armed forces,
who attempted to restore order, were forced to endure
the taunts of residents, who repeatedly accused
officials of failing to protect them, despite having
ample warning that such attacks could occur.
Some were even slapped about the head, had the wheels
of their vehicles punctured, and were pelted with
plastic bottles. At least one minister was pelted with
tales of terror
Even President Bharrat Jagdeo was not spared; some
residents called on him to resign.
Some Government officials were also manhandled, and
there were reports that Minister of Works Robeson Benn
was struck on the head with a piece of wood.
In one instance, some residents attempted to topple a
Ministry of Works tractor and trailer as well as
Minister Shaik Baksh’s vehicle into a ditch.
The chaos continued up to late yesterday afternoon.
Residents had begun milling in the streets by
daybreak, as they got wind of the massacre.
By 7:30 hrs, several young men, unable to contain
their anger, began dumping tyres, scrap metal, sand
and other refuse on the East Coast Demerara Highway,
the Railway Embankment and other roadways, eventually
blocking all streets and bridges between
Beterverwagting and Lusignan.
They then soaked the tyres with petrol and set them
alight, sending flames and plumes of black smoke into
the air. Every conceivable piece of debris was used to
block the road, and by noon both symbols of the
leading party (two large drums fashioned into cups)
were pulled down and set ablaze.
“Them children ain’t do nobody nutten; we ain’t
want politics, we want guns to protect we self. The
army and police is a waste of time.”
At first, ranks from the Guyana Defence Force tried to
restore order and put out the fires.
But as soon as they succeeded, residents dragged more
refuse to the roadways and rekindled the flames.
Eventually, the ranks just allowed the refuse to burn
as the residents became confrontational. One rank was
slapped, and he became enraged, but controlled his
anger even as one of his colleagues cocked his weapon.
This happened on the Railway Embankment.
“Knock we and shoot we, nah. Leh we see if all of
ya’ll ain’t gon dead today…is murderation!”
Traffic in the vicinity of Lusignan slowed to a crawl
as vehicles were unable to traverse the blocked roads.
Some turned back while others had to be abandoned.
Realizing that holding out was an effort in futility,
some passengers opted to walk to the nearest point
where they could board another transport to their
Several sand trucks heading east were ordered to dump
their load on the roadway and on main bridges, while
in some areas plates were removed from the bridges.
During their tour of the village, government ministers
offered their condolences to those residents whose
loved ones had been slaughtered, but most went
unaccepted. “Ya’ll stop or ya’ll gon get
hurt,” warned Minister Priya Manickchand, but the
villagers responded, “Hurt? De hurt already at the
mortuary. Condolence can’t bring dem back. Wah
ya’ll come fah?”
“This is the most unfortunate day for the village (Lusignan).
We feel for the residents and we want to express this
(sympathy), we will be offering assistance to the
families,” Minister of Human Services Priya
Minister Robeson Benn, who had one of the worst
confrontations, was moved to tears as he described the
killings as, “A sad happening in Guyana that goes
But this failed to pacify the residents, who placed
the blame at the feet of the government and the joint
The residents pointed out that government officials
and the military had ample warning that such attacks
would occur, following last Wednesday night’s
gunning down of a soldier in Buxton, and Friday
night’s gun attack on Police Headquarters.
Minister Shaik Baksh did not escape the wrath of the
villagers. As he tried to console the residents, he
was dealt a slap to the back of his head minutes after
he was booed and taunted.
He slowly walked to safety with an angry mob behind,
lobbing plastic bottles at him and shouting, “Get
out! We does got to get numbers to see you. Where you
number deh now?”
Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee also was not
spared the insults. While entering the village his
vehicle was pelted with an egg, and as he walked
through, shouts of “Rohee must go! Bring back de big
guts man now,” permeated the air.
He walked from one end of the highway to another,
apparently unmoved by the chants.
Prime Minister Samuel Hinds was also in the village.
As Kaieteur News left the scene, a loud hailer with
men on several vehicles shouted, “Enough is enough!
We having wake on the road tonight, and Jagdeo must
stand the funeral expenses.”
Police officials had stated that they had received
several threatening calls in recent days from a man
purporting to be wanted man Rondel Rawlins, called
“If they (the armed forces) can’t control a gang
of 20 people, how can they fight a war?” one woman
Khan's crime fighting unit was effective
in the fight against crime and was responsible for the
demise of most of the escapees.
January 27th 2008