President Irfaan Ali described the deaths of the cousins, 18-year old Joel Henry, a labourer and 16-year old Isaiah Henry, a student, as “brutal and senseless” while Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon said he “sickened and horrified by the gruesome killing of the two young boys”.
Police said they had detained a 57-year-old farmer in connection with the killings as residents blocked roads and burned tyres demanding swift justice for the cousins who had been reported missing on Saturday.
“Further examination of a nearby coconut farm owned by the suspect now in custody showed what appeared to be blood stains on the ground. Also, a coconut peeler and some peeled coconuts were seen at the said location,” the Guyana Police Force said in a statement.
In the statement late on Sunday night, police said Isaiah Henry’s body was seen lying on his back with his head pointing in an eastern direction and feet pointing west. The body was clad in grey short pants, light green long sleeve jersey and bare footed. A wound was seen on his throat, two to his left side head, one on his forehead and one to the left side chin.
They said Joel Henry’s body was found with the upper half in a hole. The body was clad in a black long pants, green long sleeve jersey with white fine strip and bare footed. The body bore a mark around his throat and bruises on the fingers of his right hand.
In his statement, President Ali said he had spoken to the Minister of Home Affairs and Commissioner of Police urging them to deploy all needed resources to bring the perpetrators to justice.
“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. Whilst we await the swift work of the police to bring those responsible to justice, I urge residents from the communities to be patient and support the police in ensuring justice is served.
“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. I also assure all of you that I have asked for a constant update on the progress of the investigation by the Police to be shared with the media, community and country,” Ali added.
For his part, Harmon said the killings mark “another horrific and tragic day in our beloved country with two boys senselessly cut down in the prime of their youth.
He said the opposition coalition was calling “for an immediate, full and thorough police investigation into this heinous crime and the apprehension of the killers without any delay.
“We commit to doing everything necessary to ensure that justice is served in this matter to the fullest extent of the law,” he said, adding that the opposition recognises and “understand the pain, anger and anguish the relatives and villagers …where the boys are from are experiencing at this time.
“I call on them to remain vigilant but to allow the police to conduct their investigation in a timely manner,” he added.