Seven charged after Buxton terror

Guyana Chronicle
May 4, 2001

SEVEN persons have been charged with causing public terror following the fresh violence that flared late Wednesday afternoon on the main road at Buxton village, East Coast Demerara in which several persons were burnt, beaten and robbed and vehicles damaged.

As the terror mounted Wednesday night, gunmen also opened fire on a police patrol trying to clear the road of burning blockades placed by gangs to stop vehicles using the main highway connecting Rosignol and Georgetown.

It was the latest burst of violence in the area since protests by supporters of the main Opposition People's National Congress Reform (PNC/R) began on the East Coast after the March 19 elections won by the People's Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C).

The unrest flared again at Buxton as President Bharrat Jagdeo and PNC/R leader, Mr Desmond Hoyte ended their third meeting in a week at the Office of the President complex in Georgetown.

Police reported no major incidents on the coast yesterday but said the seven charged with causing public terror, appeared before Magistrate Maxwell Edwards at the Vigilance Magistrate's Court, also on the East Coast.

Police said those charged are: Shawn Garnett 29, of Annandale; Kadiman Sutton, 41, of Beterverwagting; Shaka Blair, 32, of Buxton; Trevor Sam, 17, of Buxton; Ayenne Hutton, 26, of Friendship; Deon Newton, 17, of Friendship, and Rudolph Sutton 21, of Vigilance.

Garnette, Kadiman, Sutton and Hutton were remanded to prison while the others were each allowed $10,000 bail, Police said.

Hutton was represented by a lawyer and all are due back in court on May 10, Police said.

Police yesterday also arrested and filed six charges against a man following the assault by a gang on a family at Paradise, East Coast, last month when a mother was stripped naked.

Police said Anthony Charles, 42, also known as `Kussum' of Bachelor's Adventure, also on the East Coast Demerara, was charged with larceny in a dwelling house, damage to property, assault causing actual bodily harm and threatening language committed on Bibi Nazmoon Khan at Paradise on April 18.

In the Wednesday night unrest at Buxton, several persons were wounded and some robbed as gangs set fires in the middle of the road, disrupting traffic, hurling channa (bottle) bombs and flammable substances into vehicles ferrying passengers.

Police said another fire was also set in the vicinity of the Church of God on the main road at Buxton, and the bridge across Haslington was blocked.

The violence which began shortly after 17:00 hrs with the burning of tyres and other objects on the road, escalated and Police ranks had to be deployed to the scene in an attempt to quell the unrest.

Gunmen hidden in dark corners of the street in the vicinity of the Buxton bridge and gas station opened fire on riot police in a truck who were on patrol seeking to restore normalcy in the area. The ranks were forced to return fire.

Police said none of the ranks was injured.

But several civilians were injured as the gangs stoned and blasted vehicles with channa bombs and waged vicious attacks on passengers who had to be rushed to hospital where they were treated for second degree burns.

Mini-bus conductor, Praimnauth Seepersaud, who was a passenger aboard another mini-bus, was on his way home to Enmore, further up the coast, when a channa bomb was thrown into the vehicle BGG 2474 in which he was travelling.

Fragments of the bomb which smashed the front windscreen, hit Seepersaud on the head, and set his clothes alight, witnesses said.

In the process other damage was done to the vehicle.

Seepersaud, a patient at the Georgetown Hospital, was yesterday visited by Prime Minister Sam Hinds; Minister of Health, Dr Leslie Ramsammy; Chief Executive Officer of the Georgetown Hospital, Mr Michael Khan and others.

Mr Hinds used the occasion to call on citizens for peace.

Expressing regrets, he said: "We are very upset over what happened (Wednesday)," adding, "This is not a question of race or political parties, but a very inhumane act."

Another victim hospitalised and later discharged was 34-year-old Dhanwantie Phagoo also called Mala, also of Enmore.

Mala, a clerk attached to the MCC Security Service, Happy Acres, was seriously burnt about her body when she was doused with a flammable substance while in a mini-bus.

Reports said that since the gang blocked passengers from getting out of the door of the bus, they had to exit through the broken windscreen.

Phagoo who was in the front seat

of the vehicle, jumped through a window. In the process she lost a shoe. She was also robbed of her handbag containing cash and keys, witnesses said.

She was chased by the gang but was rescued by a passerby and taken to hospital.

Driver of the vehicle, Kumkarran Chulai also received burns about his head and hands.

He said there were about 10 persons in his vehicle when the attack took place.

He said that as the passengers, many of them hurt, fled the bus, he was left behind.

Chulai said an Afro-Guyanese man helped him put the fire out in his bus and he drove it back home.

Among those injured in the incide

nts was a young woman, Bridgette Sebastian, an employee of the Mayor and City Council and a one-year-old child.

Among items later found abandoned by passengers in the bus were ladies' handbags, a man's cap; a camera; a baby girl's change of clothing and a tin of evaporated milk.

Up to late yesterday, persons who had been injured in the Buxton violence were still trekking into the Georgetown Hospital to seek medical attention.

Tyrone Samaroo 29, of Foulis, was attacked on the Buxton public road and suffered a broken nose and injury to his left eye; Clement Da Silva and his son Aaron Daniel Da Silva of Logwood, Enmore were also treated and sent home.

Police also confirmed that a resident of Newtown and another from Blossom Scheme, Enmore were treated for second degree burns at the Georgetown Hospital.

The windscreen of a vehicle delivering bread was also smashed in the Wednesday terror, Police said.