Stabbed constable's condition stable
`They come from all sides'

Stabroek News
October 26, 2000

Injured City Constable Solomon Taylor, who was stabbed in the abdomen and then pushed into a drain on Tuesday during an attack allegedly by Regent Street vendors, said that he might have been followed before being assaulted.

From his bed in the Georgetown Public Hospital yesterday, Taylor told Stabroek News that he was on Camp Street obliquely opposite Citizens Bank when the attack occurred. The constable, who was in a stable condition, said that it happened so suddenly that there was nothing he could do, "they come from all sides."

Taylor was walking along the pavement when suddenly a group of persons converged on him and he was stabbed, kicked and pushed into the nearby drain. The injured man was sure that he was followed as the vendors were all `liming' on Regent Street and for them to attack him on Camp Street meant that they were behind him "all the time."

In addition to the stab wound, Taylor also sustained a laceration to his left arm and a cut to the left cheek requiring stitches. Although still in obvious pain, the constable said that he was doing much better.

Taylor was one of four constables injured in attacks on Tuesday as a tense situation sparked by vendors being banned last month by the court from selling along Regent Street exploded into violence.

Police pledge support for restoration of law and order

In the wake of Tuesday's violent clashes in the city, top police officials yesterday met representatives of the Mayor and City Councillors of Georgetown (M&CC) and pledged support for the restoration of law and order in the city.

Among the team of police officials were Commissioner of Police, Laurie Lewis; Deputy Commissioners Floyd McDonald and Winston Felix; Assistant Commissioner, David George; and Senior Superintendent, Greta McDonald; of Command Staff Georgetown. The M&CC representatives were Deputy Mayor Robert Williams, Town Clerk Beulah Williams and Chief Constable(ag) Jagdeo Singh.

The meeting was "called to discuss the deteriorating situation with vendors," a police press release said yesterday. Stating that the police were in deep sympathy with the City Council over the "serious injuries suffered by members of the City Constabulary," the release said that the number one reason for the meeting was to "lend support to the City Council and the City Constabulary in the restoration of law and order."

As a result, the police stressed, "with immediate effect the Guyana Police Force would be in support of the City Constabulary in respect of law and order being restored. Both sides felt that in keeping with the approved norms of peaceful behaviour and the resolution of conflict, a peaceful solution to the current impasse should be found."

Yesterday, calm pervaded Regent Street after the last three weeks of the vendors' presence. Shop owners kept a wary eye out, ready to slam their doors shut at any hint of trouble.

Four vendors to spend Diwali in jail
One fined, Poole, eight others granted bail

By Charlene Stuart

Against the backdrop of chanting by Regent Street vendors outside the Georgetown Magistrate's Court, 13 of their counterparts along with well-known protestor, Archie Poole, answered offences ranging from obstructing the public way to assault.

While Principal Magistrate, Juliet Holder-Allen, was recording pleas in the courtroom, a group of about 50 persons gathered outside the barricaded court gates bearing placards and calling for justice.

Police were forced to lock the Brickdam entrance to the court and control the intake at the High Street gate, but even this and the presence of armed constables was ineffectual as large numbers of persons still managed to make their way into the compound.

Simon Bhiman, a vendor and father of three children broke the trend and pleaded guilty to obstructing a public way. He was fined $4,000 with the alternative of one month's imprisonment. His partners who maintained their innocence faced different fates; four of them were remanded until Friday while the remaining eight secured bail. Holder-Allen also allowed Poole his pre-trial liberty in the sum of $5,000 after his lawyer, Mortimer Codette, submitted that his client might be suffering from a fractured skull.

Assistant Superintendent, Edmond Moore, prosecuting, said Bhiman was arrested and charged when Corporal Lloyd Barker observed pedestrians using the road because he had placed a box containing flowers on the northern pavement between King and Wellington streets.

Poole is accused of obstructing peace officer, Jermaine Cummings in the execution of his duties and throwing missiles.

Tessa Edwards was also released on $10,000 bail after charges of having a broken bottle in her possession, throwing missiles at Cummings, and obstructing him in the course of his duty were read to her. Her colleague, Phillip Harding of North Sophia, Squatting Area, had to pay $7,000 bail after he denied he obstructed Cummings and assaulted him.

Another vendor, Joseph Taylor, charged with assaulting Inspector Gordon Langevine, obstructing him and throwing missiles, was allowed his pre-trial liberty in the sum of $10,000. Matthew Ceaire had to pay bail in the sum of $7,000. It was alleged that he obstructed peace officer, Andre Fernandes and threw missiles.

Huckster, Mark Thomas was also allowed his pre-trial freedom in the sum of $7,000 after pleading not guilty to obstructing Langevine, assaulting him, and using threatening behaviour.

Vryheid's Lust resident, Lance Solomon, accused of obstructing Constable Ivor O'Brien, throwing missiles and carrying an ice-pick was allowed bail in the sum of $20,000.

Orin McKenzie, charged with throwing missiles, was released on $5,000 bail, while Clay Thom will have to pay $15,000 bail. Thom is charged with disorderly behaviour, obstructing constable Linden Jones and assaulting peace officer, Fitzherbert McCollen.

They will all return to court on November 13.

Meanwhile, June-Ann Johnson, Colin Walton, Earl McAdam and Lawrence Sealy will spend Diwali in prison.

Johnson of 31 Beterverwagting, East Coast Demerara, is accused of damaging a City Constabulary vehicle's windscreen valued $85,000;

Walton is charged with disorderly behaviour, carrying a cutlass and resisting constable Lyndon Jones; McAdam is accused of obstructing O'Brien and carrying a cutlass; while Sealy is charged with throwing missiles and carrying a pair of scissors.

Their bail applications will be heard on Friday.

These charges stem from daily confrontations which exploded into violence on Tuesday at about 1300 hrs as the frustrated Regent Street vendors attempted to sell their wares despite a September 29 order of the High Court barring them from vending along that city pavement.

The vendors have since been staging a number of protests. On Tuesday however, the standoff escalated and five members of the city constabulary were injured and a number of hucksters held.

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