Friday, August 29, 2008

Guyana’s ‘most wanted’ takes secrets to grave

Who assisted Rondell Rawlins and his gang to steal 33 high-powered weapons from the Guyana Defence Force?
Where are the millions in cash and gold that the gang amassed during its three-year reign of terror?
And who really carried out the Lindo Creek killings?
These are some of the questions that have been left unanswered following the death of Rawlins and his cohorts Jermaine ‘Skinny’ Charles and Sean Grant.
Rawlins came to notoriety after the jailbreak escapees and several other gunmen operating out of Buxton were killed.
According to intelligence reports, ‘Fine Man’, as he was called, soon developed a reputation for ruthlessness.
It is said that he chopped off the head of an Agricola man who had caused the police to intercept a cache of arms belonging to his gang.
Informants were reportedly shot and set alight.
In 2007, 33 AK-47 assault rifles disappeared from the Guyana Defence Force’s Camp Ayanganna base.
At least half of the weapons were recovered from slain gang members. But the Joint Services have failed to arrest the persons who actually moved the weapons, or to explain how exactly they left the army base undetected.
The Rawlins gang is also believed to have carried out the daring bank robberies in New Amsterdam, Berbice.
Some of the bank robbers were killed and some of the loot was recovered.
However, the elusive Rawlins and others escaped. The gang is said to have carted off a huge cache of gold from Bartica after killing 12 people in the community.
The safes—minus the loot—were recently recovered at Makouria.
The Joint Services found no large arms cache or money when they killed Rawlins yesterday.
During yesterday’s press conference, Acting Police Commissioner Henry Greene revealed that the Joint Services gleaned crucial information from Rawlins’ diary, which was found at the gang’s Christmas Falls hideout.
According to Greene, this information assisted the Joint Services to identify and arrest several people who assisted the gang, including persons who harboured and fed the gunmen.
A few months ago, President Bharrat Jagdeo had stated that he had viewed a tape which showed some prominent people meeting with some of the Buxton gunmen.
He had indicated that many persons would be embarrassed if the tape was released, and had even hinted that the culprits would be prosecuted.
And the debate is likely to continue over the gang’s alleged involvement in the murders of the eight miners whose burnt remains were found at Lindo Creek.
Acting Police Commissioner Henry Greene had stated that an eyewitness had implicated Rawlins in the murders. There are also reports that Rawlins had boasted that he had killed the miners.
According to the police, ballistics tests on two spent shells at the scene also linked the gunmen to that crime.
But George Arokium, who managed the camp, is adamant that persons other then Rawlins killed his crew.
This led to speculation that some rogue Joint Services members slaughtered the miners and made off with gold from the camp.
The truth about the fate of the unfortunate miners, and other questions about Guyana’s most notorious criminal may now never be known.

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