Cambio cashier killed as bandits strike again By Neil Marks and Shirley Thomas
Guyana Chronicle
June 2, 2002

Related Links: Articles on crime
Letters Menu Archival Menu

BANDITS yesterday shot and killed a cambio cashier in a daring daylight robbery attack in the city - less than 48 hours after a gang murdered a young rural constable in a brazen gun assault on a Georgetown Police Station.

Ramnauth Persaud, 44, called `Jack', cashier at the Commerce House Cambio on Regent Street, Georgetown, was killed when gunmen struck at the business place at around 09:00 hrs yesterday.

The owner was critically wounded, and a City Constable and a guard at the cambio were also wounded as the gang escaped with millions of dollars, shooting at the City Hall compound across the street.

Panic gripped the usually busy shopping area as shoppers and passersby dashed to find cover from bullets fired by the gang.

Persaud, a father of three of New Road, Vreed-en-Hoop, West Coast Demerara, died from extensive internal damage caused by a gunshot which penetrated the left region of his chest, medical personnel said.

Dr. Y. Narine, of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation, who examined and pronounced the cashier dead, said he sustained a gunshot wound "immediately below his left (breast) nipple, penetrating his chest." Persaud was dead before he reached the hospital, he said.

The horrifying attack brought back chilling memories of July 14, 1999, when at about the same time in the morning, gunmen struck at the cambio, carting off $20M in local and foreign currency.

In that attack, the left elbow of City Constable, Michelle Success, was shattered from bullets the bandits fired at the City Constabulary headquarters across the street.

Commerce House Cambio guard Rudolph Ashby, also known as `Tiger', recalled that the unmasked men yesterday, carrying what he said seemed to be AK-47 guns, held him up at the entrance of the cambio.

He said two of the men, heavily armed, made their way to the cambio and opened fire.

The man at the counter was the unfortunate cashier `Jack' who was caught in the hail of gunfire, employees said.

He leaves to mourn his wife, and his three children Rabindranauth, 15, who lives with his maternal grandparents at Charity on the Essequibo Coast, Rajendranauth, 11, and Veronica, 10.

His brother James Persaud, the cambio Manager, said he had just gone into the washroom and when he heard the hail of gunfire he secured the door and stayed there.

In the cambio, about four other employees sought cover under whatever they could, giving into the gunmen's demands that they hand over the money.

According to James, the robbers took "millions, every cent".

BULLET holes in the shed over the stairway of the City Constabulary headquarters building.
The cambio owner, Kennard Gobin was rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), with multiple gunshot wounds, but was said to be stable. The GPHC said he was in the afternoon transferred to a city hospital at the request of his family.

The hospital in a press release said he was conscious on arrival there.

His doctor, C. Budhu, said Gobin sustained two non-penetrating gunshots to the left side of his chest. He was also wounded on the left arm, and left and right forearms.

As the two gunmen emerged with the booty from the cambio, they opened fire on the headquarters of the City Constabulary, just opposite the business place.

City Mayor Hamilton Green said that fortunately, most of the people manning the Constabulary were at a meeting at the other end of the building.

Witnesses said the men then fired in the air, almost at will, before escaping in two white Toyota Corolla cars.

City Constables who tried to pursue the men were no match for them and gave up because of the bandits' "superior" weapons, Green said.

Witnesses said that as gunshots rang out, the hundreds who were around the nearby Stabroek Market square scrambled in a state of terror.

Many scattered to find cover, and stalls in the Vendors' Arcade, in Stabroek Market and stores on Regent Street slammed tight.

When the gunfire ended, many hurriedly left the area.

Vendors around the Stabroek Market picked up their goods, and along with others began running towards the Georgetown Ferry Stelling area.

Some, who had just come across the Demerara River by speedboat from Vreed-en-Hoop, hardly hesitated in going back home.

The cambio guard Ashby, 53, was treated for a bullet wound on the left side of his abdomen.

Ashby, who was fully conscious when contacted by the Chronicle at the Georgetown Hospital, was stable, but badly traumatised and experiencing severe pains.

Thanking God for saving his life, the guard who is normally seated at the entrance of the cambio soliciting customers wishing to 'change' currency, recalled that one of the men, after shooting at him, pushed him down, apparently to get him out of the way.

Terrified, the burly man said he crawled for some distance and secluded himself behind a car outside the nearby Matt's Record Bar as the shooting drama unfolded. He was later rescued and taken to hospital.

It was the second such experience for Ashby who has been closely affiliated to the cambio house for several years.

He was also on duty outside the building when armed bandits made the early morning swoop in July 1999.

The Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation said David Reid and Troy Cadogan were also treated for abrasions sustained in yesterday's attack and sent them home.

After the bandits escaped, a curious crowd gathered in front of the cambio, causing a traffic jam on Regent Street.

The Police cordoned off the area to traffic also. Stores reopened shortly after, but with much caution.

Police in a press release said they were investigating the circumstances of the robbery/murder and announced that they had intensified security arrangements in and around Georgetown.

The Police said all leads were being followed "in an effort to bring these criminals to justice".

Cabinet Friday tasked Minister of Home Affairs, Mr. Ronald Gajraj with ensuring heightened security at Police stations and outposts countrywide following the armed assault on the Alberttown, Georgetown Police Station Thursday night. One Policeman was killed and another injured in that attack.

Police Constable Andy Atwell died shortly after 22:00 hrs Thursday, when gunmen armed with high-powered weapons drove up outside the Alberttown Police Station in a movie-like scenario and opened fire, gunning down the Policeman, wounding another on duty and riddling the building with bullet holes.

Police said the gunmen drove up in two motorcars, one in front of the station on Fourth Street and the other on Albert Street, and "blazed away at the station from both sides".

Police said Constable Atwell, who was just entering the Enquiries Office, "was blasted in the hail of gunfire by the four gunmen, who emerged with long guns, from the white car in front of the station".

Atwell tried to evade them, but was caught by gunfire from the other car on Albert Street and collapsed in the station compound, Police said.

The gunmen then sped away in the two cars, Police said.