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…Boston’s wife wants killer behind bars
…says her family needs counselling; urges swift justice
“It’s not easy for my daughter, she witnessed everything,”
By Svetlana Marshall
Fiona Boston – the wife of 29-year-old Orin Boston who was shot and killed by a member of the of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Unit – said the rank who fired the fatal shot should be placed behind bars as she called for swift justice.
“I want to know who killed my husband, and he shouldn’t be walking on the road – he needs to be placed behind bars,” Fiona Boston told Village Voice News during an interview.
Life for the Boston’s took a tragic turn on Wednesday, September 15, 2021, when the members of the SWAT Unit of the Guyana Police Force stormed into their Dartmouth, Essequibo home and killed their sole breadwinner.
Amid fiery protests that erupted across the village as news spread of the fatal shooting of the beloved businessman, the Guyana Police Force, in a statement, contended that as part of an anti-crime operation in Essequibo, ranks went to Boston’s Dartmouth home to conduct a search, however, he was shot during a confrontation. His wife, however, maintains that he was killed in his sleep even as he laid beside her.
In an initial interview done, Fiona Boston said the police stormed into their home at around 4:00hrs on Wednesday, “kicked open” the bedroom door, and without asking a single question, opened fire.
“When they reached in the room, they fired the gunshot, we were sleeping, and they shoot him on the left side. When he got the shot he hollered ouch, that was all, he didn’t get up or nothing,” the woman recalled.
Boston, according to the autopsy report, died from shock and haemorrhage due to gunshot injuries to the chest. State Pathologist, Dr. Nehaul Singh carried out the Post Mortem Examination on Thursday. A single warhead was extracted from Boston’s body and was handed over to the police.
Fiona Boston told Village Voice News that it has not been easy since. “I’m trying but it’s hard, very hard right now. It ain’t easy,” she said. The grieving widow said due to the high level of trauma experienced, she and her two children would need to undergo counselling. “It’s not easy for my daughter, she witnessed everything,” she said. The seven-year-old girl was the first person who came into contact with the heavily armed SWAT Unit as they combed the house for her father.
During an emergency press conference on Wednesday, Commissioner of Police (ag), Nigel Hoppie, while assuring the press that the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) will conduct a comprehensive investigation into the shooting, said that the anti-crime operation was initiated based on the intelligence secured.
Boston was targeted by the high-level squad although he was never charged with any criminal offence. At the scene of the shooting no prohibited item was found after a thorough sweep of the house by the law enforcement officers.
Regional Two Parliamentary Representative, Shurwayne Holder, who has been on the ground since the deadly shooting, said the SWAT Unit should have never been deployed to Boston’s home.
Emphasising that the Dartmouth businessman was no criminal, MP Holder told Village Voice News that the move to dispatch the SWAT Unit to Boston’s home was an “very extreme” one.
“And up until now, the police cannot disclose what was this high level threat,” he said. He said if an allegation had been made against the businessman, the Regional Police Division should have been tasked with addressing the matter not the SWAT Unit.
At People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) press conference on Friday, Rear Admiral (Ret’d) Gary Best said that the SWAT unit is only deployed in highly sensitive operations. He spoke about such operations being guided by intelligence.
But MP Holder told Village Voice News that the intelligence secured was clearly fabricated since there was no illicit item found within Boston’s home.
The A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Member of Parliament said while the Guyana Police Force is targeting villages like Dartmouth, it continues to turn a blind eye to key hotspots in the district.
“There are known hotspots within the region, namely Onderneeming, Sandpit and Charity. You have some bit of criminal elements there, you have armed persons and robberies happening regularly in those communities, the police seem not to care about what’s happening there. They have not established any significant presence in those communities, nothing is happening in those areas, but you see them harassing ordinary citizens in other villages,” he pointed out.
MP Holder said Boston’s death has ignited the situation, and residents of Dartmouth are now seeking justice and fair treatment. Several roads and bridges were blocked as of Saturday, and residents have vowed to up the ante until the trigger happy rank is placed before the court.
While the Police Commissioner has assured that OPR will carry out the investigation, Boston’s family, through their Attorneys, Nigel Hughes and Konyo Saniford, is demanding that independent professional investigators with the appropriate contemporary forensic equipment and training, conduct the investigation into Boston’s death.
Hughes and Sandiford said at a minimum the family would expect that the following basic aspects of an investigation would have been conducted such as the dusting of the hands of the ranks on duty and the deceased for gun powder residue; examination of all footage from anybody cameras which may have been carried by the police officers; and taking into their possession of the pillow and the bed sheet.
The lawyers said it should be clearly indicated whether a warrant to search Boston’s home was secured and whether any shells, warheads or other components of the projectile were recovered from the crime scene and the location from which it was retrieved.
Further, they want to know on what intelligence did the police act when they determined to search the home of Boston; what exactly, were they looking for; and what were the standard operating procedures deployed when they entered the bedroom of Boston without a warrant. Additionally, they are seeking details on the trajectory of the bullet and the points of entry and exit of the bullet which killed Boston
Mike McCormack, Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) Representative said the Human Rights Association sent a representative to the Village of Dartmouth to conduct an assessment of the situation.
In May, Peter Headley, a 45-year-old businessman was shot and killed by police.
Headley was shot and killed on May 15, 2021, after police ranks — following up with investigations into an armed robbery committed at Herstelling on May 11 — intercepted a vehicle he was in, along with another man, at Nandy Park, East Bank Demerara (EBD). Headley was shot en route to the Providence Police Station. His family has accused the police of deliberately killing Headley.
Guyana 2020 Human Rights Report said there were reports that the government or its agents committed arbitrary or unlawful killing. It pointed out that in July, 2020 police shot and killed Cecil Sampat, an unarmed civilian. According to police, Sampat was one of three passengers in a car who opened fire on the police. No gun was found in Sampat’s vehicle, however, nor was there gunshot residue on Sampat or the other passengers.