LOCAL criminals appear to be sending a message through the brutality shown in some recent killings, forensic pathologist Dr Valery Alexandrov said yesterday.
Alexandrov, in an interview with radio station 195.1 FM, also again criticised the system and a poor work ethic that he said is sometimes behind a pile-up of bodies, waiting for autopsies to be performed.
The Russian pathologist referred to a number of murders over the past two weeks — most recently, the discovery last Friday of two bodies — believed to be that of cousins Dale and Jerome Ramsahai — found in the trunk of a car at the Heights of Guanapo, wrapped in barbed wire and burnt beyond recognition.
The bodies are to be identified through DNA testing and dental record matching, and Alexandrov said he had viewed the bodies and there was no other hope of identifying them, so badly were they burnt.
He also pointed to the decapitation of Learie Ceballo, an ex-prisoner whose head was left on a table at a bar in La Romaine just over a week ago.
Alexandrov also referenced the discovery two weeks ago in Warrenville of the remains of Shinelle Nelson, who was identified by a tattoo on her torso, as her head, hands and feet had been chopped off.
"I still don't have a head," he said, adding, "I think the criminals are sending a message."
Alexandrov was asked whether any local cases stood out to him or had made him do a double-take.
Having been stationed in Afghanistan, he had already seen cases much like those he encounters here.
Previous issues raised with the way the local system operates still exist, he said, adding that this country is the first place that he has worked that operates "like a grocery".
Working hours are limited and the Forensic Science Centre in Long Circular, St James, is vacated for up to three days at a time during Carnival, he said.
This leads to a pile-up of bodies, with he himself rushing to perform dozens of autopsies in a matter of days.
He is doing up to 400 autopsies a year, he said, while the international standard is 250 per pathologist.
Admitting that there is a worldwide shortage of such specialists, Alexandrov said the allowance due to this shortage is 275 bodies or a maximum of 300.
This is not the only possible compromise of quality, he said.
Bodies are usually taken to hospital morgues and funeral homes first, sometimes spending "crucial" days there before they reach forensics.
This could lead to contamination and the break-down of or tampering with evidence.
Alexandrov said in his agreement with the State, he requested that he be situated close to the Centre, so that being on call around the clock is easier.
He said he does not,however, have the support system he needs most of the time.