Executive Cabs driver foils hijack bid
Ditches car, plunges into trench
By Kim Lucas
June 19, 2002
A driver from Executive Cabs taxi service was forced to ditch his vehicle on
Monday night and plunge into a trench in `A' Field Sophia after a hijack attempt.
However, the three bandits made off with the company's $150,000 radio set,
which they used later that night to contact Managing Director of the service,
Paul Giddings, and demand money.
Recounting the incident yesterday, the driver, 37-year-old Laurel Haynes, told
Stabroek News that at about 10 pm on Monday, he was in the vicinity of
Stabroek Market, when a tall, neatly-dressed man hired the car to go to Sophia.
Haynes radioed in the drop, but Giddings had reservations.
"I listened to the conversation and, at that point in time, I felt something strange
was going on... but I did not want to intervene to tell the driver not to take the
customer into Sophia, because if it was an innocent customer, I would feel bad
doing so. But within half an hour, we got the message that the car was held up,"
Giddings told this newspaper.
Haynes explained that when he took his passenger to the squatting area, the man
claimed to have been going to the third street. "I keep driving and when I meet
the third corner, I say, `Guy, this is the third corner, where you going?' He say,
`Drive!' that he looking for a girl name Karen. So I keep going, but when I meet
a culvert, I see two men come out from behind [something] and he tell me stop
so that he could ask for Karen," the driver recalled. Haynes, who was driving
slowly at the time, said one of the two men started approaching his side of the
car, so he kept the car "rolling." That made his `passenger' angry.
"You ain't hear ah say stop this f...ing car," the decent-looking passenger burst
out. At the same time, the taxi-driver said, he noticed the men "go to waist" and
he caught a glimpse of the butt of a gun. Haynes said that was his cue. He
needed no prompting. He stepped on the accelerator, swung the car wheel to
the left and plunged out of the vehicle's window, to the right. He landed on the
road, damaging his knee, but that didn't slow him down. He dove head-first into
"de big, stink trench."
Stressing the stench of the trench, the father of one said he remained in the water
for about 15 minutes and noticed the men ransacking car. When another vehicle
approached, the trio ran off, but returned before the taxi-driver could pull
himself from the water. This time, they reportedly tried to drive the car, but
abandoned the effort after they got it stuck deeper in the ditch.
"If they did reverse, they woulda get the car out, but they went forward...more
in the ditch [and] after a while, they left it and run away."
It was some time around 10:30 pm that Haynes managed to flag down another
taxi. He asked the driver to call into the taxi service's base and explain what had
happened, so that that base could call the Executive Cabs base. Not long after,
a taxi from another service passed, and Haynes begged the same favour.
Giddings told this newspaper that he got the first message at about 10:30 pm,
that Car Six was "stuck" in Sophia.
"The second message I received was about 22:45 hrs from Sheriff Taxi, which
stated that my vehicle was hijacked by some gunmen. Roughly at about 23:00
hrs, I proceeded to Prashad Nagar [Police] Outpost and made a report,"
But the four policemen manning the outpost reportedly told the businessman that
they were not venturing into the Sophia area at that hour of the night.
According to Giddings, he went to the outpost, identified himself and explained
what had happened. By that time, he'd already had two vehicles in the squatting
area, since a second driver was sent to Haynes' rescue.
"I said I need some backup because I want to go and get my vehicle. They said
at this time of the night, they not going," Giddings recounted. He, nonetheless,
commended members of the Guyana Police Force for the work they are doing,
despite the limited resources.
Then Giddings got a further shock. The men, using the stolen radio set from the
ditched taxi, contacted him and asked for a hefty sum. "Last night, we were
talking to them. They wanted (money)... they said to tell the driver, `We're
gonna get him' [and] that they want the man who running things," the
businessman stated. As a result, Giddings said the service has since changed its
He said Haynes was one of his good drivers. Haynes, whose leg was injured
during the escape bid, had this to say: "Dem can't frighten me... if de boss want
me out again tomorrow, I going." And he has no qualms about returning to areas
The car, HA 9903, has not been damaged. It was released yesterday. Giddings
said he returned to Sophia yesterday and was able to locate the car keys, which
could not have been found the night before.
The businessman said Monday's attack was the first such incident since he
started the service last year September.
Recently, a number of cars, especially taxis, have been hijacked and later used
as the getaway vehicles in robberies. Just last Friday, another car, HA 9655,
was hired from the Stabroek Park and later hijacked in Lamaha Gardens. That
car turned up last Sunday morning in a Vlissengen Road trench with a quantity
of arms and ammunition, including a machine-gun. Two taxi-drivers were later