Attack on Berbice businesswomen
Alleged bandit chopped to death
Two others wounded

By Daniel DaCosta
Stabroek News
July 23, 2001

A man said to be among a group of five armed men who attacked two young businesswomen at their Edinburgh, East Bank Berbice home on Sunday night, was allegedly beaten and chopped to death by members of the area's community policing group (CPG). Two others were said to be badly injured.

According to reports, the five men forced their way into the home/business place of Ina and Sonita Robert and relieved them of an undisclosed amount of money after badly beating them with gun butts.

The two women, who live alone, operate a liquor restaurant and a grocery store at the same location and live above in the top flat of the two-storey building.

According to the younger of the two sisters Sonita, at around 7:00 pm he was about to close up the liquor restaurant section of the business, when she saw the men emerge from the dark and approach her sister, who was closing the grocery shop. She told Stabroek News that she quickly ran upstairs and closed the door, but the men ran behind her and kicked down the door and demanded money.

According to Sonita, they had already beaten and relieved her sister Ina of an undisclosed sum of money. She said that one of them pointed a gun at her sister and pulled the trigger twice, but somehow it did not go off.

Sonita, who was still in a state of shock up to yesterday, recalled being beaten about the head and body by the men, two of whom were masked. Her sister, she said, handed over a "set" of money, which consisted of their takings for the day. Another sum, which she described as "a large amount" was left behind.

Residents of the area had seen the bandits enter the girls' home/business premises and had alerted the CPG. When the CPG confronted them, the bandits fled, scaling a high zinc fence.

Members of the policing group captured one of the men, who was masked, as he attempted to scale the fence and proceeded to beat and chop him about his body. He reportedly died on the spot. The dead man was yesterday identified as 40-year-old Linden Crandon of West Coast Demerara by his brother. Another of the bandits was badly chopped on the hand, according to a source close to the policing group, while another was badly chopped but managed to escape over the fence. The group pursued the men but was forced to abort the chase after the men sought refuge in a bushy area, where there was no light.

Yesterday there were blood stains still visible in the yard and on a nearby bridge which was apparently used by the men in their attempt to flee the area.

Ina Robert who was badly beaten about the body and head was admitted to the New Amsterdam Hospital on Sunday night, but was discharged yesterday afternoon. The incident has shocked the sleepy community comprising mainly sugar and bauxite workers and business persons. It was in this area that a infamous bandit called Perreira was shot and killed two years ago in an old abandoned house by one of his accomplices after they had shot and killed a New Amsterdam businessman and his wife.

The police in New Amsterdam were tight-lipped over the incident and were only willing to say that investigations were being conducted and that no arrests had been made. A shotgun and a knife were recovered by the policing group. According to the two sisters, the men were armed with knives and two shotguns.

Neighbours said that when they called the new Amsterdam Central Police Station they were told that no police ranks were available. Some time later, they said, policemen from the Albion Police Station located some 14 miles away arrived on the scene. By then, the bandits had been long gone.