Montrose chef recalls horror of armed robbery
Victim kicked while in gutter
Stabroek News
April 3, 2002

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"It was like looking at a movie. I could not believe that it was happening right in front of me." These were the words of Bibi Alli, who witnessed the brutality meted out to a man by four bandits who later escaped with $1.3 million on Saturday night at Montrose, East Coast Demerara.

The bandits robbed Ramchand Narine also called `Leon' of the cash along with a .23 Taurus revolver while he was a patron at Alli's barbecue hut on the Montrose Public Road. One of Narine's employees, Maureen, was also robbed of $4,000 by the heavily armed bandits.

Recalling the traumatizing experience Alli and her husband, who gave his name as `Sheriff' told Stabroek News that the four men who drove up in a burgundy Toyota Carina car bearing number plate PHH 7585.

The woman said that she operated her barbecue hut every weekend and was out selling as usual on Saturday night when Narine stopped to make a purchase and to drink a beer, which he bought from a stand next to hers.

She said the young man, who has a business on Merriman Mall, was sitting at a table with her husband when the bandits made their appearance. The woman said that when she first saw the car with the five occupants -- the four who did the actual robbery and the driver -- she was happy because she thought she was getting more customers as business was not going well that day. But her anticipation turned to horror as they quickly pulled stocking masks, which they had around their heads, over their faces and ran to the area where Narine was sitting.

Alli recalled that all four of the men were armed with "big" guns which they pointed menacingly at persons around.

The woman said the men went up to Narine and asked him: "Wheh de money deh?" When he said that he had no money they immediately started beating him.

The woman added that the bandits then fired shots scaring persons around and some of them approached others asking for the money. By this time, the beating Narine received from one of the bandits caused him to fall to the ground and he rolled into a gutter. Alli said the bandit started to stamp and kick the man while he was in the gutter. Narine continued to say that he had no money and one of the bandits threatened to kill him. He then told them that the money was in the car. One of the bandits then went to Narine's vehicle, which was parked on the road, and took the money out of a concealed pocket.

Yesterday Narine, who still appeared to be shaken by Saturday night's ordeal, said he felt the bandits might have followed him from his city business location. He based this assumption on the fact that the men approached him and asked for the money as soon as they stepped out of their car.

Alli said the incident lasted no more than ten minutes, after which the bandits boarded their car which sped away into the night in the direction of the upper East Coast Demerara.

The woman disclosed that one of the bandits fired shots right in front of her shop door and a warhead accidentally went into her container of cook-up. She said was not aware of this occurrence until a patron she sold a box of cook-up to telephoned her informing her that he had found the warhead in the food.

The woman said in the initial stage of the robbery she thought she was watching a movie and it took a while to register that it was happening in front of her eyes.

She said that the police arrived on the scene shortly after the robbery as some ranks from the Sparendaam Police Station were on duty at another function a short distance from the robbery scene.

Both Alli and her husband, while praising the ranks for the investigation they conducted into the robbery, said that Saturday night's incident made it obvious that the Guyana Police Force was somewhat "handicapped." They said that the ranks had no vehicle, not even a bicycle, to take them around. They pointed out that if the ranks had a car they might have been able to follow the car. They further pointed out that the ranks also had no radio with which to inform other police stations on the East Coast about the robbery.

To nail home their point, the two further disclosed that they were forced to remain at the scene until late in the night as the policeman who wanted to uplift fingerprints was forced to travel to Cove and John to get a kit.

The two along with Narine, yesterday said that while the police were diligent they had little to work with. Alli sympathised with the two policemen who visited her home in the course of their investigations and were forced to walk to and from the police station, which is some distance away, in the hot midday sun. She said that while many persons lambasted the police they were not aware of the constraints under which the ranks were forced to work. She made an appeal for government to pump more money into the force.