Assistant Police Commissioner Clifton Hicken took the stand at the Lindo Creek Commission of Inquiry this afternoon and recounted seeing Rondel ‘Fineman’ Rawlins and members of his criminal gang at Christmas Falls in June 2008, days before eight miners were found murdered at the nearby Lindo Creek.
The Police Force has always maintained that it was the “Fineman” gang that was responsible for the massacre, but there has always been speculation that ranks from the Joint Services may have mistakenly killed the miners during their hunt for the wanted men.
The CoI was specifically established to determine, among other things, whether it was indeed the “Fineman” gang that killed the eight miners.
Mr. Hicken told the Commission that he was picked up at Kwakwani on the morning of June 5th 2008 by then Crime Chief Seelall Persaud and other ranks and taken to Christmas falls where he was briefed and told that “Fineman” and his gang were on the other side of the river.
After camping out in the area for the night, Hicken said he and three other ranks crossed the river and went to an abandoned building where he recalled seeing Fine Man.
He claimed that he recognized him from a wanted man bulletin that was out at the time.
However, the gang was alerted to the presence of the Police and opened fire resulting in an exchange of gunfire.
Hicken said once that ended and the Police moved in closer, they realized that one of the men was shot and killed and that three others had escaped by foot.
They were not pursued, according to Hicken, but several firearms and ammunition were found.
He said he returned to Georgetown and briefed Commissioner of Police at the time, Henry Greene, who then told him that the Joint Services would take over the pursuit of the remaining gang members.
Hicken said he was never at Lindo Creek and does not know what it looks like, clearing himself and accompanying ranks from any involvement in the murder of the eight miners at Lindo Creek.
He was shown pictures of the murdered men and asked if any of them resembled any of the men he saw with “Fineman”, to which he responded in the negative.
Although being cautioned that the CoI had intended to get clarity on the killing and not make accusations against anyone, Hicken insisted that he never visited Lindo Creek and could not say who was responsible for the gunning down of the eight miners.
He said the terrain at the time posed a disadvantage for ranks who did not know the area and would have opened themselves to possibly being ambushed.