Here we have an unfortunate situation of a murder that should never had happened. Residents claimed that Mark was seen in a drunken state on the road with a cutlass and blood stains on his cloths saying that he killed Deochand for murdering his brother and cousin. His public behavior was not that of a person who was trying hide a clandestine crime. The role that drunkenness played in this murder is undeniable. But a more important contributing factor is the failure of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) to bring to justice, in a timely manner, those responsible for the murder of Joel and Isaiah Henry. The police’s overt and covert harassment and unnecessary persecution of the Henrys’ created in that family circle loss of hope that justice would be accomplished in the murders of Joel and Isaiah. Mark Henry’s reported unnecessary and senseless attack on Surojdeo Deochand was influenced in a major way by the behaviour of the police, both their handling of the Henrys’ cases and the mistreatment of his family. However, his action will undermine the struggle for justice for Joel and Isaiah.
A review of the newspapers since the demise of Surojdeo Deochand by Mark Henry have had little or no public outcry. In trying to understand this reaction I am forced to ask if this is a mature reaction from a society conscious of the racial implications or a collective view that what occurred was inevitable. After careful reflection on the matter, I have come to the position that this notable public silence is a manifestation that Guyanese have become “numb” to murders/killings given the almost daily occurrances of these heinous crimes. If my observations are correct, we as a society are in “bad shape”. The main reasons for writing this letter are as follows: (a) to acknowledge that this revenge murder is unhelpful in the struggle for justice for Joel and Isaiah Henry; (b) from a personal standpoint and as a cultural and political activist in the African community I want to extend condolences on the behalf of myself and the African community to the family/relatives of Mr. Surojdeo Deochand, his community and the wider Indian community. In conclusion, we Africans cannot support extrajudicial and revenge killings. We have to embrace the principle that a person is innocent until proven guilty, either by an unquestionable confession or a trial in a court of law. Mark Henry’s reported action has brought grief and distress to the Deochand family as well as his own family and community.