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article imageSecond massacre in Guyana leaves 13 dead as killers strike again

By Sheba     Feb 21, 2008 in Crime
Two massacres in 22 days, 23 victims dead and numerous wounded. The weapons used in both killings are linked through ballistic tests, indicating the same gang is responsible for both massacres...
Kaieteur News reported that a second massacre in Bartica, Guyana, left 13 dead, including fishermen, police, and civilians, just days after the Lusignan massacre, on the East Coast of Demerara left 11 dead. The gang headed by Rondell "Fine Man" Rawlins struck again in this mining town, killing men and women and injuring one child. Rawlins is the most wanted man in the country with a several million dollars bounty on his head for his capture. He has managed to elude capture for several years, now the manhunt continues for him.
Meanwhile, this South American nation, the only English speaking country in the region is in a state of terror, its citizens on the brink of hopelessness. The plaintive cry from this newspaper to a terror stricken land to not give up, to not loose hope, speaks to the very depth of the wound felt by all Guyanese near and far. There are hundreds of thousands of Guyanese in North America who have loved ones back home, who are deeply affected by what happens in Guyana. For one who knew this land in all its splendor, Land of Many Waters, green grass, lush forests, endless waterfalls, and the legend of El Dorado, it grieves the soul to see the evil scourge upon this beautiful land.
Kaieteur Falls
Kaieteur Falls
In typical Kaieteur News fashion, the comment is separate from the report of the killings. Kaieteur News Comment:
In two horrendous incidents, twenty-three innocent Guyanese have been slaughtered by armed gunmen. In two incidents, the future of this country has been imperiled. In a matter of weeks, two mass killings have been committed by armed gunmen. In both incidents, there have been unprecedented brutality and causalities.
Guyana, today, finds itself in the abyss of hopelessness and fear. Sadly, children have been victims in both incidents. In the first attack, on Lusignan, five children were slaughtered, while in last Sunday’s attack, at Bartica, at least one child was shot in the leg. Our children, the future of this country, are being targeted by the heartless gunmen bent on instilling fear and division within our ranks...
The recent tragedies have also affected the country as a whole. Many of those killed last Sunday night were from other parts of the country. There is a pall of gloom over the entire country.
Guyanese throughout the length and breadth of this country are angry and upset; but they are also fearful and despondent about the situation. Given what Guyana has had to endure over the past few weeks, it would be very easy and understandable for people to lose all hope. Deep fear can create paralysis that can erase all feelings of hope.
Without hope, however, there can be no salvation. Therefore, while we empathize with what the Guyanese people are experiencing at the moment, we urge that, however bleak the situation may seem at the moment, our people do not lose hope. We urge that the people of Guyana not give up hope, for no matter how defenseless the people may feel at the moment, it is still possible for Guyana to be restored to a state of normalcy. This is why it is important that Guyanese do not lose hope; for if all hope evaporates, there can be no future for this country.
If hope goes, Guyana goes. This is not what anyone wants. Guyana cannot be allowed to suffer anymore. The threat posed by the armed gunmen must be eradicated; hope must be restored because, without hope, there can be no future...
It is therefore for the leaders of Guyana to take the necessary initiatives that would restore hope to our country. Only through action can we hope to overcome the present crisis and move forward in peace and security. Without this peace and security there can be no development. It is therefore incumbent that decisive action be taken to deal with the present crisis. It is also of equal importance that such action arises out of a national consensus. The present situation in the country requires unity, not division, for it is only in unity that we can hope to end the insanity that has now taken root in our country.
A positive step has been taken by the Government in meeting with the main stakeholders of the country. This meeting took place yesterday at the Office of the President, and was expected to have involved the private sector, the religious community and, more importantly, the representatives of the Parliamentary opposition.
This is a positive development which should be supported by all Guyanese, because if the threat that this country now faces from heavily armed criminals is to be overcome, it can only be overcome by a unity of all political and social forces in the country. It is only through unity that we can hope to lift ourselves out of this crisis and create the conditions that are propitious for routing these heavily-armed criminals and their masterminds from our midst.
Map of Guyana
Map of Guyana
As noted above, the government met with stakeholders to discuss the state of affairs in the country and to look at solutions for bringing order and normalcy back to a country almost crippled with fear.
Following a lengthy meeting with representatives of a wide cross section of the society, including the inter-religious organisations (IRO) and the private sector, many requested that there be a combined statement by all political parties condemning criminal activities currently gripping the country and which have spread fear among citizens.
The government did meet with two opposition parties, the People's National Congress (PNC) leader, Robert Corbin and two members of the Alliance for Change (AFC), Khemraj Ramjattan and Raphael Trotman. Meanwhile, Guyanese everywhere hope and pray that there will be no more bloodshed, that our beloved land will not sink lower into the depths of despair and demoralization.
We are a strong people. The sufferings we've endured have made us strong. That quiet strength in the face of this evil scourge is evident of that fact, and displayed in the words of Kaieteur News. Yes, we are angry, as the protests that followed the Lusignan massacre demonstrated. We are hurt, scared, and at the same time resolute and determined - Guyana will one day arise out of the ashes to one day live again.
When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice;
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