Ten years after the brutal execution of eight miners at Lindo Creek, Camp Owner Leonard George Arokium continues to hold onto to the same belief he had back in June 2008, that the Joint Services were responsible for the killings. Arokium lost a son and a brother in the massacre.
An Elderly Leonard Arokium took the stand at the Commission of Inquiry hearing today and while a series of questions were put to him he had one key question for everyone present.
“Who decided to get rid of evidence and for what reason?” he questioned, as he recalled visiting the camp and seeing first hand the charred skeletal remains of the miners and their belongings.
Arokium’s credibility was placed on the line as the Attorneys for the Guyana Defence Force sought to point out that his conclusion in the matter was based on hearsay evidence.
A noticeably frustrated Arokium said the inquiry should really try to determine who tried to cover up the issue and not about who committed the act alone.
Arokium said he was told that soldiers had shot the miners and when they realized it was a mistake they burned the bodies. That evidence was rejected by the GDF Counsel as hearsay.
He proceeded to explain that the security along the Unamco trail was very tight, “tighter than security at the Office of the President”, and it would have been difficult for a criminal gang to get in and out of the area without being noticed.
He said no ordinary person could have ventured further than the checkpoint without good reason.
Arokium also pointed out that when the incident occurred, there were three sets of people in the area, the Fineman gang; the miners and Law Enforcement ranks.
Again he paused to ask; “who decided to get rid of the evidence and for what reason?”
Arokium remains convinced that it was the Joint Services that carried out the carnage, even as he gave insight into the topography of the area and the difficulty the Fineman gang would have had in reaching to the miners.
However, his conviction was put to the test when the GDF Counsel asked him to read the last line of his statement given to the police on June 22nd.
In the last line, he claimed that he couldn’t say if anything was stolen from the miners or who committed the act.
This statement was taken two days after the bodies were discovered by Arokium during a visit to his home by then Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, Police Commissioner Henry Green and Home Affairs Minister.
Also not working in his favor was a statement the police took from Anthony, the man Arokium claimed that told him about the killing and who was involved that he had no such conversation with him.
Arokium wasn’t bothered by what seemed to be a challenge to his credibility and insisted on his own conviction and his belief that the Joint Services were responsible for the slaying of the the miners.