Berbice protests continue as Guyana mourns slain teens

A heavy police presence is currently stationed in Guyana’s West Coast Berbice community as protesters set debris aflame. The demonstrations were sparked by the death of two teens on Sunday. (Photo: Facebook)

Tensions are still high in the northern village of West Coast Berbice (WCB) on Monday (September 7), as residents intensified a violent demonstration following the tragic death of two teenagers over the weekend.

Access to the main road in the Number 5 Village community remains blocked at this time, bringing traffic to a standstill. Protesters on the scene have renewed their calls for justice while Guyana stands agape at the callous nature of the two teens’ demise.

The protests were sparked after 16-year-old student Isaiah Henry and his cousin Joel Henry, an 18-year-old labourer, were found dead in the Cotton Tree backdam. The teens were last seen alive on Saturday, when they left home to pick coconuts.

Isaiah Henry (left) and his elder cousin Joel Henry (right) left home in West Coast Berbice on Saturday. The two, who went to pick coconuts, were found dead a day later, triggering violent protests in sections of Guyana. (Photo: Guyana Times)

When the boys did not return, Isaiah’s mother went to the Blairmont Police Station to report him as missing; Joel’s mother filed a missing person’s report on Sunday morning.

Six hours after family and friends formed a search party, the bodies of the two cousins were found some 600 feet apart in clumps of bushes near a coconut farm.

The killings have sent shockwaves throughout Guyana, as citizens struggle to understand why the boys were met with such a brutal end.

Let's redirect this fb energy into reminiscing on why 2 teenagers got hacked to death for picking coconuts at the…

Posted by Jairo Rodrigues on Sunday, September 6, 2020

In a statement on Sunday, Guyanese President Irfaan Ali condemned the death of the two young men. President Ali asked, even as Guyana continues to grieve, for residents “to be patient and support the police in ensuring justice is served.”

“We cannot and would not tolerate this type of brutality in our communities and country. I can understand the pain of the families and community and my prayers and thoughts are with you,” President Ali remarked.

President Irfaan Ali (Photo: Department of Public Information, Guyana)

“I ask you to act lawful and responsible in demonstrating your anger and hurt. As President, I can understand the emotions but I ask that the police be given an opportunity to do their job,” he added.

Already, a 57-year-old rice farmer has been taken into custody as bloodstains were discovered on his property, near the scene where the teenage cousins were found.