News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Mon. Oct. 22, 2012: New York’s Caribbean Guyana Institute for Democracy, (CGID), on Monday, Oct. 22, accused the Barbados Police Force of covering up the apparent murder of Clinton Norton, a born Barbadian of Guyanese and Barbadian parentage. Norton died under suspicious circumstances in Bridgetown, Barbados on September 3, 2012.
The Institute’s President, Rickford Burke, last week wrote Barbadian Prime Minister Freundel Stuart asking for an independent and fair review of the Police investigation of Norton’s death “so as to ensure justice for the family.”
Burke Monday said Barbados Police has misled the public about the facts of the case and therefore his organization felt constrained to release further information to support its contention of a possible Police cover-up.
CGID, which has made human rights a corner-stone of its mission, simultaneously released several photographs of Norton’s battered body which bore marks of violence; including what appear to be burns, lacerations and bruises. It said the photographs establish that he was either beaten or tortured to death as the wounds could not have been self-inflected.
The cause of death as declared by Barbados government pathologist, Dr. Corinthia Dupuis, is registered as “indeterminate.”
Independent pathologist Dr. Michael Brown, who witnessed the autopsy on September 11, 2012, revealed that there was blood in Norton’s lungs and sand in his nostrils and mouth. Burke argued that these findings invalidate the Police’s theory that Norton cut himself while attempting to commit burglary and bled to death.
Norton’s body was found inside a Liquidation Center on September 3rd. Workers there said they saw blood on the floor and called Police who responded to take a report and left. After Police left they stumbled on the body in a pile of rubble. Police claimed that Norton, who had a prior run-in with them, broke into the building, cut himself in the process and bled to death. But a coroner, Magistrate Manila Renee, has ordered an inquest into this suspicious death.
Neighbors said Norton was last seen with Police officers, including a detective working on his death investigation, hours before he turned up dead. Burke blasted the investigation as “surreptitious” and said Prima facie evidence suggests a potential homicide staged as a burglary.
“The government of Barbados needs to determine if this is a case of Jack-the-ripper investigating Charles Manson for murder. Serious questions arise when witnesses allege that an investigator in a potential murder investigation was last seen with the deceased. This is why we are demanding answers from the Barbados Police Force,” the CGID head noted.
Barbados authorities have not yet set a date for an inquest and relatives fear Norton’s death will be swept under the rug. Burke, however, said he is optimistic justice will ultimately be achieved as his group will continue to press Barbadian authorities. He also asserted that failure to ensure justice could compound the notorious perception in the region that Barbados law enforcement is allowed to violate the rights of certain persons with impunity.
“It is incumbent on the government and good people of Barbados in ensure that justice is done in this case. The publication of these kinds of stories around the region and world is injurious to the country’s image and tourism industry,” Burke added.