The family of Deodat ‘Ramesh’ Persaud, who hung himself in the Number
51 Police station lock-ups on Wednesday, said that they were not allowed to
see him since he returned from Suriname and so are in the dark as to why he
jumped off the fishing vessel that he was working on.
Meantime, the police said yesterday that the Police Office of
Professional Responsibility (OPR) is investigating the circumstances
surrounding the 45-year-old fisherman’s death. Persaud of Number 4
Settlement, Blairmont, Berbice was found hanging in the lock-ups at the No.
51 Police Station, Corentyne, at about 5:40pm on Wednesday, the police said
in a statement.
The statement said investigations revealed that on February 10 Persaud
had left in the company of three others in a boat from Meadow Bank Wharf to
go to Suriname to fish. The other three men returned to Guyana on
February 24 and said that he had left the fishing boat while it was in
Suriname, the police said. Subsequently, the statement went on to say, on
February 25 Persaud’s brother Jagnandan Persaud reported him as missing to
the lawmen at the Beterverwagting Police Station. In conducting
investigations, they arrested three crew members.
The police said that consequently, relatives of the three arrested crew
members went to Suriname where they located Persaud and they all returned to
Guyana on Tuesday and reported to the Police at Springlands Police Station
where the man “presented himself as being alive and well”. Checks of the
records revealed that he was a suspect in a break and enter and larceny
committed on fisherman Vishunlall Teeklall at his home at No. 65 Village,
Corentyne, between November 12 and 26, 2008 and as a result he was arrested
and placed in custody at the Springlands Police Station, the statement said.
It went on to say that on Wednesday, Persaud was transferred to the No.
51 Police Station which was dealing with the matter and was placed in the
lock-ups at 2:50 pm. Routine visits, the statement said, were made to the
lock-ups and at 5:40 pm on Wednesday when ranks were in the process of
taking meals for him, Persaud “was found hanging by his jersey from the
metal ventilation of the lock-ups.”
“The body was examined and no marks of violence were seen on the
exposed parts of the body except for marks around the neck believed to have
been caused by the jersey that was tied around it. The scene was
photographed by the police”, the statement said adding that the body is at
the Skeldon Hospital mortuary awaiting a post-mortem examination.
Yesterday Persaud’s brother, Jagnandan also called ‘Rajin’
said that when relatives went to visit his brother at the Skeldon lock-ups
on Wednesday, they were not allowed to see him and so they did not know why
he jumped off the boat in Suriname. “Me brother is not a criminal, not a
murderer…they never get to see he, they never get to talk to he”, an
upset Jagnandan said. He said that even though the relatives waited for
several hours, they were not allowed to speak to Persaud and when they left,
they received a call that Persaud had hung himself.
He said that the matter should be investigated.
Another relative said that he had seen the body and there appeared to be
no marks of violence. He said that he had learnt that Persaud was alone in
the lock-ups. On Wednesday, Jagnandan had said that relatives wanted the
authorities to look into the matter and wanted an immediate investigation.
“Something got to be done”, he had asserted. Yesterday, other
relatives said that they were satisfied that the police had nothing to do
with Persaud’s death and they had received full cooperation from the
Persaud is the second person to die in the lock-ups for this year. Last
month, on February 10, Mahendra Seenarine had been found hanging in the La
Grange lock-ups after being arrested and a post-mortem examination had
revealed that he died from asphyxiation due to hanging.
Seenarine, 38, and a labourer
of Good Land, Canal Number One, West Bank Demerara was discovered hanging in
his cell at the lock-ups around 9:30 pm on that date, during a routine
check, the police had said at the time.