A Guyanese man who is wanted in connection with a murder investigation here, was released by the authorities in Brazil after the Guyana Police Force allegedly showed no interest in having the fugitive returned here to face justice.
The fugitive was fingered in the murder of 22-year-old Rockie Pedro who was knifed to death on the Takutu Bridge at around 3am, on the 4th February this year, and right under the nose of the Police at Lethem.
The Takutu Bridge connects the border roadway between Guyana and Brazil.
Ironically at that time, the police at Lethem were seemingly unaware that a man was murdered a few yards from their location; and only realized that the incident had occurred after this publication contacted a senior officer at the very police station.
Initially, the police had assumed that the man had probably fallen off of a truck and met his demise. But a further check by relatives and a doctor revealed that the man had at least three stab wounds to the neck.
Pedro was a Guyanese who was residing and working in the Brazil border town of Bonfim, and would usually come over to the Guyana side of the border at Lethem, to meet friends and family members.
On the 3rd February last, Pedro made one of the same trips, but this time with his girlfriend, and a large amount of cash.
He subsequently met with some friends and they spent several hours imbibing at a club in Lethem.
It was reported that Pedro and one of the men later had a heated argument, possibly over his girlfriend.
Several hours later, while crossing the Takutu bridge to head back to BonFim, the same friend that he was involved in an argument with earlier, attacked Pedro and stabbed him several times.
After he fell to the ground and had taken his last breath, eyewitnesses claimed that his girlfriend and the man that had stabbed him, rummaged through his pockets and took his remaining cash and identity documents, before fleeing the scene.
Later that day, and based upon information received, the police in Guyana contacted their Brazilian counterparts in a quest to have the accused murderer apprehended.
The Guyana Guardian understand that after trying to track down the man for several weeks, he was subsequently captured by police on the outskirts of BonFim, Brazil.
But interestingly, after the man was captured and the police in Guyana were notified, relatives of the dead man are saying that the Guyanese Police showed no interest in following up with the procedures aimed at having the man returned here.
So after keeping the fugitive in custody for about 45 days without any charge or official request for him to be handed over to the authorities in Guyana, the Brazilian police were forced to release him.
No one is sure why the police here had not sought the return of the fugitive, or who was responsible for the process aimed at having the man handed over to the local police.
This development has now caused a lot of distress for Pedro’s family, since they are uncertain as to whether it was a deliberate lapse by the police to secure the fugitive or whether there were other issues that could have contributed to the wanted man being released.
They are now calling on the hierarchy of the Guyana Police Force and the Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan to launch a thorough investigation into the matter, and at least update them as to ‘what is really going on’.
“I just don’t know what is really going on right now. Something is not right”, said Mary, a sister of the murdered youth, who went on to tell this publication that the family is in a continued state of grief, especially her mother.
She reiterated that these sort of developments are not good for trusted relations between the community and the police, and can seriously degrade public confidence in the Guyana Police Force.