Daring robbery bid on businesswoman foiled
Quick-witted taxi man shot
after driving to police station
Would-be robber held

By Oscar P. Clarke and Leonard Gildarie
Stabroek News
April 15, 2000

Quick thinking by a city taxi driver foiled a daring afternoon robbery attempt by two armed bandits on a city businesswoman when he drove to the Brickdam Police Station.

Taxi driver Righbert Boatswain, 28, of 187 south Vryheid's Lust, East Coast Demerara, who was shot by the bandits is currently in the Georgetown Public Hospital. At press time, he was being prepared for emergency surgery. One of the bandits was captured and is in police custody. The other escaped and is being sought. According to reports, Boatswain, a driver with Top Line Taxi Service, was hired by Manageress of Yuppies Depot, Maimoon Ali, to take her to Citizens Bank, Camp Street, to conduct business.

Ali told Stabroek News she left her High Street business premises at around 1545 hrs to make a deposit at the bank. While heading north along Camp street, the car stopped at the red light at Brickdam and two men suddenly entered the vehicle, one in the front with the driver and the other at the back. Boatswain was ordered to "shut up and drive."

Ali said the driver rapidly swung left into Brickdam, proceeding west in the direction of the police station. While they were in the vicinity of the Ministry of Education, the businesswoman recalled, she heard a gun shot from the front seat. She said that at the same time the bandit at the back was attempting to grab her bag. She said that she resisted these attempts by kicking at and pushing the bandit towards the left side car door. The visibly shaken woman said that the driver continued to speed along Brickdam, making a sudden turn into the drive way of the station. At that point, she said, another shot rang out from the front of the vehicle, which had stopped.

Ali said the men exited the car and ran off in the direction of Smyth Street followed by members of the Impact Patrol who were approaching in a vehicle. They were successful in apprehending one of the men.

Boatswain, she recalled, had emerged from the car and run to a group of policemen standing outside the station, clutching at his chest and shouting that he had been shot.

Boatswain was taken to the hospital by the police. Boatswain confirmed to Stabroek News the details of the incident as recounted by Ali prior to being prepared for surgery.

Stabroek News understands that a man, believed to be the mastermind behind the attempted robbery, and who was apparently following Ali in another car from which the bandits emerged, is also in police custody. That car is from another city taxi service.

When contacted, relatives of the injured man told this newspaper that an x-ray had indicated that the bullet was lodged between his ribs and missed vital parts.

Ali said that her husband had told her not to go to the bank yesterday morning so she said that she would do some work and then go in the afternoon. Ali's husband told Stabroek News that he had seen the car which followed Boatswain's taxi earlier yesterday hanging around for about an hour outside of his store which is located at 45 High Street. He was not suspicious because this particular car would often drop his son to school and his wife on errands.