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Friday, February 10, 2006
Waddell execution: Two men held

Two men have been arrested as the police intensify their probe into the startling execution of controversial talk show host Ronald Waddell.

Crime Chief Henry Greene made this disclosure to Stabroek News last evening.

Stabroek News understands that one of the two is known as a 'hit-man', while the other has links to the Guyana Police Force. This newspaper was told that one of the men was arrested on Wednesday and another taken in yesterday. Police may still be seeking other persons, according to information, although it was reported that two men carried out the actual killing.

A city-based killing squad with many of its members being former policemen has been linked to the execution and the police had said that they were exploring the lead. Today marks 12 days since unknown men sporting in a dark-coloured vehicle gunned down Waddell in front of his Subryanville home.

Several persons have been calling for government to solicit external assistance, if local police are unable to crack the case, but Greene said the force has not considered this as yet. He said the force will continue to act on the evidence they have and detectives continue to seek further clues to solve the case.

Meanwhile, the PNCR at its weekly press conference yesterday said that the events surrounding Waddell's killing clearly demonstrate that the government has lost control of what was once a potentially containable crime situation.

The PNCR said that there are well-publicised excuses for this disastrous situation. It noted that it is being said that technology and science, now available to the criminal underworld, are breaking such terrifying new ground that it is unreasonable to hold government accountable for developments not anticipated at the time decisions to marginalise the police were taken. According to the party, the sophisticated weaponry being used today with accessories which include strobe lights, shell catching bags, night vision, laser sights and computerised communication/ intercepting devices suggest a criminal presence that is better organised and equipped than the police force.

The PNCR said that Waddell's murder was carried out with such professionalism and deadly determination that it might not have been prevented however well equipped and vigilant the Guyana Police Force might have been. "At the margins however, a more effective intelligence capability and network could have indicated that Waddell was being targeted and by whom," the party said. It added that precise information, on the timing of the dastardly act would have been hard to come by.

The party noted that there are new levels of threat with which citizens are forced to live. Yet, while these realities are valid they do not counter the case for long awaited reform of the criminal justice system, but rather they reinforce it, the PNCR charged. "Surely the time is now for government to fully implement all 164 recommendations contained in the Disciplined Forces Commis-sion (DFC) Report of May 2004. It must begin with increased remuneration for our grossly underpaid and demoralized police men and women." The DFC report has been mired in a parliamentary committee for many months now.

The PNCR also reiterated its call for a witness protection programme. "Witnesses need to be relocated or their identity even changed. We think this is so important that we will enshrine in law what witness protection should be made available and who is eligible for it".

The Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) has called for the most professional investigation into Waddell's execution to be conducted, which the body feels would be the first step on the road to ending the confrontational politics that birthed Waddell's own extreme views.

Relatives had told Stabroek News that on the night of Waddell's killing he went through the gate, closed it and sat in his car. No sooner had he done this, than a bright light appeared in front of his Subryanville yard and gunshots followed.

Waddell's mother had said that he knew that he was going to be killed and was preparing for it. She told Stabroek News that her son had received several death threats and last year gunmen had showed up at his home. Reports are that several persons were liming on the seawall at the time of the incident and Minister of Home Affairs, Gail Teixeira had told this newspaper that a group of young people had flagged down a police patrol that was passing minutes after Waddell was shot.

She said ranks on the patrol responded quickly and took Waddell out of his car but by the time this was done the youngsters had disappeared.

Teixeira had expressed confidence that the police would solve the murder. Yesterday, the PNCR said that the track record of the police in many past murders gives no such assurance.

"The solving of Waddell's murder, as well as others, is essential for the creation of a stable security environment so necessary for the development of Guyana", the party said.

Stabroek News