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It has become painfully apparent that the Henry murders are heading in the direction of a cold case. It seems, this regrettable development is about to take its place in the ignoble category of unsolved murders. While all such crimes deserve their fair share of special attention and date with justice, the Henry murders require special investigatory attention from the highest levels of this state due to it nature and national and ethnic security implications.
Anyone who thinks the dark event of September 2020 which unfolded at Cotton Tree, Berbice was a run of mill crime or execution that should remain at the level of local law enforcement is either willfully ignorant or extremely naïve. Furthermore, any glance at a single syllable written on ethnic conflicts within plural societies would reveal the dangers of which these issues teem.
THE HENRY MURDERS AND NATIONAL CONSCIOUSNESS
Along with the aforementioned, it is worthy to note that such macabre developments are normally committed to national memory and become great obstructers to national reconciliation. Just like the race riots of the 1960s, they serve as constant reminders that feed dangerous myths and legends that become essential tools in the arsenal of those who prefer division over unity. As a necessary consequence, it is our national duty to deny these efficient, albeit, evil weapons to the purveyors of ethnic insecurities, on all sides.
As previously mentioned, these events are never forgotten and are discussed at family gatherings, kitchen tables, casual conversations, work places. and are subject to wild interpretations and conclusions. In this, they are absorbed into the national consciousness and from time to time, aid in the exposure of the ugly underbelly of the Guyana experience.
OUR RWANDA MOMENT
With this in mind, in comes the Republic of Rwanda. I am convinced, the Henry murders were Guyana’s Rwanda moment but by the grace of God, we dodged the bullet. Now, to all eyes which this submission may meet, I hereby refer you to the BBC’s ‘Rwanda genocide: 100 days of slaughter’. The documentary describes how 800,000 people were slaughtered in 100 days due to ethnic communal violence. Here is the important thing: this was a result of numerous unsolved murders and tensions which were simmering since 1959. In 1994, the tense political situation provided the opportunity for dark forces to seek ethnic revenge. The evidence is plain. The Henry murders run the risk of being perceived as orchestrated communal violence which mirrors ethnic reprisal killings, the likes of which visited Rwanda. If it is viewed through this prism by communities of different ethnic persuasions, it would not be far fetch to anticipate some form of reprisal.
It became necessary to establish the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in the Tanzanian town of Arusha to prosecute those responsible and deliver some form of justice to the aggrieved. For a decade until 2012, 12000 gacaca courts met once a week in villages across the country in the outdoors, marketplaces and under trees trying 1.2 million cases. An absolute herculean task because they knew and we must know now, the dispensation of justice in these matters is absolutely necessary to avoid possible reprisals that can trigger a large scale national conflict.
Let’s be clear, Guyana is no way close to the aforementioned but the Henry murders is a frightening sign post that is normally erected along this road.
Based on my readings and understanding of these matters, I am no longer concerned, I am terrified.