Basdeo drove car for part of way
Kidnapping of duo - source
Stabroek News
April 15, 2002

Related Links: Articles on the Mashramani Day Jailbreak
Letters Menu Archival Menu

While they remain mum on their ordeal, more details are slowly emerging about the disappearance of a man and a woman last week and the use of her car in an attempted robbery in Campbellville.

Marceline Basdeo and Andre Ramphal have told police that they were forcibly taken from outside the Tower Hotel in Basdeo's car and dumped in a house. They later managed to free themselves, they told police. Many questions have since arisen about the details of their story particularly because of the seriousness of the attempted robbery in Dadanawa Street on Wednesday morning where the bandits liberally sprayed houses with gunfire before their robbery bid failed and they fled. Police are interested in the details of their ordeal so that they can track down the kidnappers.

Neither Basdeo nor Ramphal has yielded to requests for interviews on what transpired.

Yesterday, Stabroek News spoke with a source close to Basdeo's family who is familiar with the details of her account to the police.

While it had been originally reported that both Basdeo and Ramphal were forced into the trunk of the car outside of the Tower Hotel, the source said that Basdeo told police that she had just entered her car in front of the hotel when two persons drove up slowly asking for directions possibly to distract her.

The source said that Basdeo had then signalled Ramphal who was some distance away to assist in giving the directions and at that point, two bandits approached on foot and ordered Ramphal into her car at gunpoint before instructing her to drive to the seawall area. According to the source, the bandits were wearing what appeared to be stocking-like masks and Ramphal, who had been forced into the back of the vehicle, had been held head down for the duration of the drive to the seawall.

The bandits had then ordered her to stop in the vicinity of Sheriff Street where two other men had joined them and at this stage, the two had been blindfolded and bound then driven off to a home which it was earlier reported had been in Bel Air Park. The source said that they had been left there and that on Wednesday night, Basdeo had managed to untie herself first and had then untied Ramphal, who had then used his cellular phone to contact relatives. The kidnappers had apparently not bothered to take it.

"It was the mercy and grace of God that was with them. It was God who helped them to escape," the source asserted. The pair had then left the house and after walking for some distance, Ramphal had recognised the home of a friend and had gone there to seek shelter and make further contact with relatives. On Thursday morning, they contacted the police, who have since cautioned them to avoid discussing any of the particulars pertaining to their experience as this could jeopardise ongoing investigations, the source concluded.

The police had also indicated that they had arrested two men in a camp behind La Bonne Intention (LBI), Housing Scheme, East Coast Demerara. The police said that one of the men is the brother of Andrew Douglas, one of the five high profile prisoners who escaped in the Mash Day jailbreak, and that the camp contained three hammocks, two camouflage suits, foodstuff and other items necessary for human existence.

Prison officer, Troy Williams, 21, had been fatally stabbed during the jailbreak while female prison officer, Roxanne Winfield, 33, had been critically injured after being shot and remains a patient in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC). (Edlyn Benfield)