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‘Operation Restore Order’ Underway as Murder Victims Laid to Rest

By Sheba     Feb 1, 2008 in World
In the wake of the brutal massacre of sleeping men, women and children at Lusignan, Guyana on Saturday January 26, 2007 the Guyanese government amid stark criticism from terrified citizens has finally stepped up and responded to demands for justice.
'Operation Restore Order' went into action on Sunday, January 27, 2007, after eleven men, women and children were brutally murdered in their homes while sleeping in the wee hours of the morning, leaving a country reeling from the shock that rippled through communities that saw the virtual shut down of the capital city of Georgetown some twelve miles away from Lusignan where the murders took place.
By Wednesday, January 30, 2007 two of the killers met their own fate after a shoot out with Joint Services members at Buxton which is just a few miles away from Lusignan where the massacre unfolded.
The Joint Services yesterday announced that a combat size (30-35) ‘Joint Special Operations Group (JSOG)’ has been put into operation to sanitise what they called the target area (Buxton) and has been assembled specifically to hunt down gunmen and eliminate the current threat they pose.
Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), Commodore Gary Best said that apart from the standard patrols in concert with JSOG, all land, sea and air resources are being utilised.
"All land, sea and air resources are being utilized," sounds like a declaration of war against the killers and just what the terrified citizens of this land need in order to have their trust in the system again.
A shootout on Wednesday, between armed forces and the killers yielded two dead, including 'Fineman's' deputy, Troy St. John called ‘John Eye’. The other is Vibert Leroy Harris called ‘Bolo’, 29. “Troy St. John is reported to be the number two member of Rondel Rawlins called ‘Fineman’ gang,” a brief release said.
The AK47 rifle linked to the Lusignan massacre and other murders across the country along with rounds of ammunition, was also recovered during the armed confrontation between the Joint Services forces and the killers on Wednesday night. Other items recovered include; four magazines containing 110 AK-47 rounds, some 200 additional AK-47 rounds, nine .38 rounds; five 9mm rounds, two army pouches, a Bible and first aid kit among other items.
Apparently some weapons had gone missing back in 2006 as Kaieteur News reported the Joint Services as saying that the weapon (namely the AK47) recovered from the dead men has not been linked to the arsenal of weapons that went missing from Camp Ayanganna in 2006 that included more than 30 AK-47 assault rifles, 16 of which have been recovered.
He also confirmed that the weapon carried by Corporal Ivor Williams who was shot dead in Buxton last Wednesday has gone missing.
A second wave of ‘Operation Restore Order’ commenced early yesterday which saw the Joint Services conducting searches in Buxton.
A National Day of Mourning
A national day of mourning was called yesterday for the 10 remaining victims to be buried, and a corporal from the Guyana Defense Force who was shot in Buxton during Wednesday night's shootout.
The outpouring of grief and unbridled emotions from relatives as well as thousands of strangers were displayed... As the midday sun blazed in all its glory, followed by some intermittent showers...Despite being offered comforting words by the various religious leaders, many expressed that there would be no closure until the perpetrators of the heinous act are brought to justice.
Funeral for victims of massacre. Photo courtesy of Kaieteur News.
Funeral for victims of massacre. Photo courtesy of Kaieteur News.
Yesterday, Raywattie Ramsingh, 11, her father Rooplall Seecharran, 56, her mother Dhanrajie Ramsingh, called Sister, 52; Clarence Thomas, his son Ron, 11, daughter, Vanessa, 12; Mohandai Gourdat, 32, her two children: Seegobind Harilall, four-years-old and Seegopaul, 10; and Shalem Baksh, 52, were bid their final farewell. The eleventh victim, Shazam Mohammed, was laid to rest on Tuesday last.
Funeral for victims of massacre. Photo courtesy of Kaieteur News.
Funeral for victims of massacre. Photo courtesy of Kaieteur News.
Honouring a Fallen Hero
Slain Army Corporal Ivor Williams, # 19759, 23, was given full military honours at his funeral. Williams was shot dead after his patrol came under fire from gunmen while in Buxton.
He had only served five years in the Guyana Defence Force, but according to Chief of Staff, Commodore Gary Best, the life of Corporal Williams was an exemplary one, and he died as a hero.
Funeral-Slain soldier Ivor Williams  23. Photo courtesy of Kaieteur News.
Funeral-Slain soldier Ivor Williams, 23. Photo courtesy of Kaieteur News.
Over two hundred military personnel attended the funeral, while thousands lined the streets to pay their last respects to a fallen hero who gave his life for his country. Several members of the government also attended the funeral. Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon, promised that the government will work tirelessly to bring those responsible for Williams' death to justice. It was recalled during the funeral service that Williams last attended church on December 31. One month later on January 31, he was again in church.
In the mean time Guyana's most wanted man, Rondell 'Fineman' Rawlins is still at large. The search for his missing wife, pregnant teen, Tenisha Morgan, continues. And the Joint Services continue their 'Operation Restore Order.' These measures will hopefully bring some peace and calm to a country shocked and traumatized by the wave of violence. As the dead are buried, and justice is pursued, as time marches on and some semblance of peace and safety returns, it is the hope and prayer of this CJ that healing will come to those who lost loved ones in this tragedy.
I also hope that this is the last article I need to do on this subject. It has been a tough week. My gratitude and respect also goes out to the professionals at Kaieteur News who report the news daily, faithfully. I don't know how they do it, but they have certainly remained professional while reporting the facts to the best of their ability. When I read the articles I feel like I'm reading a documentary.
The newspaper published its position and opinions on the issue in separate columns while devoting themselves to unbiased reporting of these events providing their readership with factual information. Thank you and keep up the good work Kaieteur News.
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