Guyana’s most wanted criminal shot dead

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, August 29, 2008 – Police in Guyana have killed the country’s most wanted man, Rondell ‘Fineman’ Rawlins, who is believed to be the leader of the gang responsible for two massacres here at the beginning of the year.

Two others were also killed in the shootout that put an end to the search for Rawlins: a man identified as Seon Grant and Jermaine ‘Skinny’ Charles who was wanted for a number of murders including the 2006 killing of the country’s Agriculture Minister, Satyadeow Sawh

The gang leader was shot by members of the Joint Services in an operation that lasted almost seven hours. According to acting Police Commissioner Henry Greene, it began when two teams from the country’s Joint Services Operation Group (JSOG) and the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Special Force and members of the special forces, acting on information, went to an area in Timehri – a town located to the south of the capital, Georgetown – about 500 metres east of the GDF ammunition dump when they came under fire from shooters in a house.

Mr Greene said a soldier was shot in his hand and after the lawmen saw three men running from the house, they returned fire. When they reached the area, they found Grant dead.

The search for the two other took them to Kuru Kururu, a forested village located 30 miles outside of capital, along the Soesdyke Linden Highway, where they came under fire again. A shootout out there led to Rawlins’ and Charles’ deaths.

Charles had been in custody earlier this year but escaped after appearing in court in the preliminary hearing of the Mr Sawh’s death.

Rawlins and his gang were believed to be responsible for the deaths of 23 people in a massacre in Lusignan in January when 11 people including five children were killed, and another in February when 12 people, including three policemen, were shot dead in the mining town of Bartica. A G$50 million (US$250,000) reward had been offered for his capture.

“We feel we have broken the camel’s back where this gang is concerned,” acting Commissioner Greene said at a press conference that followed Rawlins’ shooting, although insisting that the search for the other members would not end.

A number of the gang members have been either killed or arrested, but others are still on the run.

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