Foreign firm workers in police scare
Stabroek News
June 24, 2002

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Members of the Police Target Special Squad last week ordered four employees of SNC Lavalin, a Canadian consultancy firm, to lie face down on the road in front of the Gafoors store at Parika, East Bank Essequibo, apparently because they were in a white car.

This was confirmed by a senior officer of the Leonora Police Station who said that the ranks were at the time carrying out a routine operation which was intensified as a result of the chilling crime spree that has gripped the country.

According to an account from one of the employees, they were on their way to Georgetown after conducting a traffic census on the Essequibo road.

The incident was another in a series where police have been targeting occupants of white cars in their bid to track down bandits. Many white cars have been used by criminals in the commission of crimes and this is apparently why they are being targeted especially when there are multiple passengers. Last week a reporter from this newspaper endured a similar experience in front of Stabroek News’ office on Robb Street.

Other persons have reportedly been harassed along the East Coast and in other parts of the country. Since the February 23 prison break, bandits have been hijacking cars, particularly white cars, and using them to commit dastardly acts. One such car was retrieved at Nabaclis, ECD when wanted man Compton Cambridge was shot dead.

Speaking to Stabroek News, one of the workers said that he and his colleagues, one of whom is a Bangladeshi, were on their way to Sophia where their office is located after completing work at Parika when they encountered the problem. He said that his company was at present working on designs for four-lane roads from Ruimveldt to the Demerara Harbour Bridge and also from the West Coast to Parika.

He said they had just finished working at Parika on Sunday and were returning to their office around at 7 pm, when they heard a siren behind them. He said the driver of the car looked in his rearview mirror and recognised that it was a police vehicle. The man said the driver pulled over and the police vehicle stopped. The ranks disembarked and demanded that they get out of their car and lie face down on the road.

He said that at first they refused, but the ranks pulled out their guns and out of fear they complied. According to him, the ranks carried out searches on their persons and also on the car before escorting them to the Leonora Police Station where they gave statements and were later sent away.

The man complained yesterday that he and his colleagues were very traumatised after the incident. He told this newspaper that despite showing the police their identification cards, the ranks insisted on them lying down on the road.