The Babita Sarjou story
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THE Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Guyana Police Force was able to unearth Babita Sarjou’s body in a three-foot grave aback her reputed husband’s house.

The police have reported that Sarjou’s reputed husband Sharadananda Narine, called ‘Anand’, and his alleged accomplice Darel Pronton, called ‘Yankee’, who led them to the grave, were interrogated and held in connection with the crime.

The CID claims the skeletal remain are that of Sarjou, but will do a DNA test to establish 100 percent certainty.

This case presents several scenarios. Foremost, it tells of the horror of domestic abuse; it can lead to death, of which one too many are occurring. The right to life is guaranteed by the Guyana Constitution. A partner or spouse has to learn to walk away if it is felt that the relationship has gone sour. Counselling and education are needed to help persons cope with such issues, be they on the receiving on dispensing side. Where a person can value life at a mere $50,000 and another can accept such payment speak to the basest of instincts. It also says that, at a price, persons are available to snuff out other persons’ lives at the request of another.

These social ills have to be addressed, and the full brunt of the law felt for the recruiter and executor of the gruesome act.
At the familial level, while the discovery of the body may answer some nagging questions for Sarjou’s relatives — as to where she was; and if dead, where her body was disposed — it will also open painful wounds of having to lose a loved one in this brutal manner. Some form of emotional support service, though it cannot erase the horror of what happened, can aid in providing the coping skills needed at this time.
Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum and his team have again distinguished themselves in the cracking of this six-year-old crime. As he said, the missing person case is closed, and the Force is now moving to have charges of homicide laid. Though persons are likely to face charges, what is equally important is the quality of presentation on the part of the prosecutor, which is crucial in ensuring convictions.

There have been cases, even though with the evident presence of guilt, the manner in which they were handled in the court, including witnesses not turning up, case jackets disappearing, shoddy presentation and preparation by the prosecutors, have caused the culpable to walk free.

From recent handling of crime fighting, the sense is given that the Crime Chief is doing an admirable job. This can improve police/community relations, as citizens feel confident that they can provide information and work with the police in crime fighting. Similarly, the Force needs to recognise the importance of ensuring crime fighting techniques, including confessions, are consistent with modern policing standards, as this is equally important in ensuring the culpable are held to account, and not allowed to walk free on technicality or violation of their rights.

The opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) issued a statement on Monday commending Blanhum and the CID for their work. This sentiment is felt by law-abiding Guyanese, since crime affects everyone, irrespective of their politics, and the use of crime to score political points never helps in its solution and elimination.

Where, too, the PPP/C has pointed to what the party considers avenues for improvement, though such may not have been factors they took into consideration for implementation when in government, such should be looked at for their merit and demerit. The issue too of the rank of the Crime Chief should not escape attention. We believe that his responsibility should be consistent with the appropriate rank and remuneration, as this will offer incentive to improve performance.

And finally, the breakthrough in the Sarjou case opens possibilities for other cold cases. Some cases that readily come to mind are Monica Reece, Ronald Waddell, and the hundreds who have died during the crime spree of 2002-2006; and where it is believed and reported that some bodies were buried aback of the Botanical Gardens.

The family of the late Minister of Agriculture Satyadeow Sawh has made it known that they seek answers into his death, and the State has made known similar interest, which is a step in the right direction.

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