Fifth anniversary of Lusignan massacre marked in Guyana

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Tuesday January 29, 2013 – Guyana on Saturday marked the fifth anniversary of the Lusignan massacre in which gunmen stormed the small East Coast Demerara village and killed 11 people including five children.

Prime Minister and Acting President Samuel Hinds said that the nation is still plagued by the murders adding “we cannot forget the senseless loss of life that ripped apart Lusignan”.

Hinds urged villagers to “live your best lives and show all of Guyana that you can overcome one of life’s greatest adversities, the loss of a loved one”.

The 11 people were killed by a group led by Rondell “Fineman” Rawlins, who along with several members of his gang were later killed by security forces after they attacked a town in Bartica, Essequibo and murdered 12 people.

The authorities said that the massacre was part of a series of murders which appeared to have started with the murder of prison officer Troy Williams during the Mash Day Prison break on February 23, 2003.

Prime Minister Hinds in his address made reference to the recent motion by Opposition Leader David Granger calling for an enquiry into killings from 2004 to 2010.

Hinds said that while the government would support the motion, there was need for a broader enquiry and one which could lead to a “Truth and Reconciliation” commission.

He said this was needed to heal Guyana and that, “the PPP/C (People’s progressive Party /Civic) is ready to take part in any enquiry, once set in the full context of circumstances”.

Prime Minister Hinds said that this would lead to the turning of a new leaf for the nation and help citizens to move forward as one.

In his address, Junior Finance Minister Juan Edghill, who had helped to counsel many of the villagers, following the massacre, described the attackers as cowards who killed defenceless people.

He hailed the surviving relatives urging them to send out a message of peace, harmony and unity despite their losses.

Edghill said violence in all forms cannot be justified and called on all political leaders to condemn such killings.

Gomattie Thomas, recalled the night of January 26, 2008 when the gunmen shot her husband, son and daughter, saying she hid behind a curtain with two sons who survived the onslaught.(CMC) Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)