Statement of the Leader of the Opposition
Hon. Joseph Harmon MSM
On the killing of Joel and Isaiah Henry
Monday, September 7, 2020
No. 3 Village, West Coast Berbice
Joel Henry. Isaiah Henry. Those are their names. Their mutilated bodies, with X carved into their flesh now lay cold and dead in a mortuary. Two boys, 19 years old and 16 years old, heinously cut down in the prime of their youth.
Today, I continue to be horrified by their gruesome killings. I cannot begin to imagine the state of the barbaric minds that could commit such evil acts.
We share the deep grief, pain and anguish of the families and relatives.
President David Granger and I have conveyed our sympathies to the families and have offered our support. They require all of our support – the community and all of Guyana as they try to cope with these tragic losses. We hold up the families and all the relatives in prayer and ask God to give them the strength to carry through and carry on.
NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, must young black men in our country live in fear of being senselessly slaughtered by anyone.
Our country has lost two young enterprising boys just on the cusp of adulthood, the families and this community have lost their sons and brothers.
This is an unspeakable crime that has left the nation outraged and in a state of shock. The tears and emotions which I have seen in the past 24 hours from all segments of our society speak to the inhumane and barbaric nature of these crime which has shaken the soul of this country.
It is therefore appropriate and right, for us, as a nation, to observe two days of mourning for the loss of these two boys – Joel and Isaiah Henry. I call on all Guyanese to observe two days of mourning tomorrow, Tuesday September 8th and Wednesday September 9th. Further the APNU+AFC Coalition will assist the families by covering the costs of the funerals.
The APNU+AFC Coalition demands of the Guyana Police Force that it spares no effort or resource in conducting a thorough and comprehensive investigation without any delay and arrest all the perpetrators of this crime and bring them to justice.
We ask that if there is any member of the public with information which could lead to the solving of this crime to provide such information to the Police as soon as possible.
On this solemn, sad day I must also express my profound disappointment with the response of Acting Commissioner of Police Nigel Hoppie to my request of last week to meet with him by today to address urgent matters.
Acting Commissioner Hoppie indicated that he was too busy to meet with me as the elected representative of well over 200,000 Guyanese citizens. He indicated that he could not find the time to meet until Friday. I find this unacceptable and disrespectful to the people of Guyana and to the Office of the Leader of the Opposition. I leave the people of Guyana to judge based on the facts.
I wish to also, once again, place on public record, our grave concern with and staunch objections to the actions of the Guyana Police Force in allowing itself to be used and abused as a political tool to illegally detain innocent citizens and charging some of them on trumped up charges.
We alert the nation that the Police is being used to dismantle GECOM and to render it incapable of hosting local government and General and Regional Elections which are inevitable.
On Saturday, September 5, I wrote to the United Nations Secretary General, the CARICOM Chairman and Secretary General, Amnesty International, the OAS Secretary General, the European Union, the Chairman of the United Nations Human Rights Council and several foreign governments to update them on these matters and the misconduct, breaches and transgressions of the Guyana Police Force.
In my correspondence I named, specifically, as being complicit:
· Commissioner of Police Acting, Nigel Hoppie,
· Assistant Commissioner Clifton Hicken
· Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum
· Assistant Superintendent Mitchell Ceasar
· and one Inspector Serabo
We continue to monitor the actions and conduct of other senior officers and will take similar action if necessary. We are also contemplating calling for international sanctions against these officers should they continue to be complicit in the politicization of the Police Force.
We register, publicly, our view that the police have failed woefully, have acted unprofessionally and have returned to their pre-2015 state of being used as a tool for political persecution by the fraudulent and illegitimate PPP regime.
We will not tolerate such conduct by the police and will continue to monitor them closely as they investigate this heinous crime and their conduct otherwise.