City businessman recalls terror attack By Abigail Butler
Guyana Chronicle
May 5, 2002

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`God sent the security guards to (our) rescue' - businessman, Mr. Patrick Seebaran

THE bandits who shot and wounded two security guards who went to the rescue of Mr. Patrick Seebaran while he was under attack Friday afternoon, carted off about US$23,000, the city businessman reported yesterday.

Speaking to the Chronicle at his Stone Avenue, Campbellville, Georgetown home, he said the men also fled with about $30,000 local currency, a quantity of jewellery he and his wife were wearing, his cellular phone, a camera, keys to his vehicles and some documents.

He was badly beaten by the bandits and up to yesterday was complaining of pains about his body.

Seebaran, 65, his wife Gina, 60, and two employees came under attack by the bandits who suddenly drove up behind the party at around 17:45 hrs while they were entering his yard.

Exposing several bloody marks about his body, he recalled the terror they experienced during the ordeal before "God sent the security guards" to their rescue.

According to Seebaran who owns the popular Patsans business firm at Sheriff and John streets, he and his wife had just left the office and were heading home in the family's vehicle followed by two employees.

He said that as is the custom, his wife got out of the vehicle to open the gate for him to drive in. He later got out of the car to talk to the employees when suddenly eight or nine men rushed into the yard brandishing guns.

The group was huddled into the garage, Seebaran said, noting that he got a severe beating since he was the one making noise to attract attention.
He said he ignored orders to shut up and was beaten for his disobedience while the men robbed them of the money on their persons. His wife was also hit on the mouth when she intervened during the beatings, he said.

He said that the men, apparently dissatisfied with the loot, demanded the keys to the house where they probably felt they would get more money.

They were, however, told that Seebaran's son had the keys at the office.

Seebaran was then dragged to the road where the men attempted to put him in a waiting car. He said the others were put to lie face down in the garage.

He said God sent the Advance Security Services patrol vehicle, soon after which gunfire opened.

Two of the guards, Mr. Alvin Weekes, 45, of 161 Curtis and James streets, Albouystown, Georgetown and Mr. Mark Barlow, 32, of 63 Norton Street, also in the city, were wounded in the shootout.

Weekes was shot below his left knee and on his right thigh while Barlow was shot in his right thigh.

The men were taken for emergency surgery at the Georgetown Hospital and were later transferred to a private hospital in the city for continued medical treatment, sources said.

After the armed patrol vehicle showed up, the gang reportedly sought shelter behind cargo containers in front the businessman's yard following which there were frequent exchanges of gunfire between the bandits and the security guards.

Seebaran recalled lying on the ground next to his car while bullets passed over his head.

The bandits retreated in a hail of gunfire leaving him on the ground, he said.

He said none of the neighbours came out probably because they were afraid after hearing the shots.

An eyewitness said that during the standoff, a young woman who was passing was held by one of the men who used her as a human shield in their bid to escape.

The young woman was released as the bandits fled in two cars, one of which had been hijacked, reports said.

The left front door of the security patrol vehicle had several bullet holes and the front windscreen was also hit by bullets.

After they sped away, the robbers abandoned one of their vehicles and hijacked another near Stone Avenue and Second Street, Campbellville, witnesses said.

Seebaran said he thinks the robbery was planned and he is very, very frustrated that businesspersons are not secure in the country.

He said the Police seem unable to cope with the "criminal elements" who are targeting businesspersons around the country.

Since he started his business in 1974, this was his first such experience and Seebaran expressed the hope that the Police would soon have the country secure.

He said his entire family is shaken and the aftermath of the ordeal is worse than the beating.

His wife was resting when the Chronicle visited yesterday and seemed quite shaken by the experience.

Bloodstains were also evident on one of the vehicles parked in the yard.

Friday's attack was the latest in a series of daring robberies in and around Georgetown since the armed and dangerous gang of five escaped from the Georgetown jail on February 23 last.

Sources said the five may have been involved in Friday's attack and hijacks which fit the pattern of previous robberies Police have linked the gang of five with.