Bandits beat, terrorise Mahaica family
...claimed they were 'Police' By Mark Ramotar
Guyana Chronicle
July 11, 2002

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FOUR heavily armed bandits beat and terrorised a Mahaica, East Coast Demerara businessman and his family early Tuesday night and escaped with an undisclosed amount of cash, jewellery and three passports.

Heman Narine, also called 'Tinnie', 41, his wife Meshele, 37, and two of their friends who work with Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) were sitting in front of their beer garden at Belmont, Mahaica (adjacent to the Twilite Cinema) around 20:10 hrs when the incident occurred.

Narine, who had a gash over his left eye due to the beatings he received at the hands of the bandits and which required six stitches, told the Chronicle yesterday that two of his three children, Leno, 18, and Rookmani, 11, were also outside with them at the time of the incident. Amar, 16, was in the upper flat of the two-storey premises looking at television.

His wife Meshele recalled that four unmasked men pulled up alongside the beer garden in a gold-coloured car with the number plate HA 94. It is understood that the car might have been the same one hijacked Sunday night from a taxi service in Georgetown.

Meshele said one of the men, wearing a bullet-proof vest, came out of the vehicle with a gun in his hand and told them that he is a "Police" and that "they should go upstairs".

She said two other men then emerged from the car with machine guns and followed them up the stairs. In the meantime, the driver remained in the car and he turned the vehicle around and positioned it facing north towards the East Coast Demerara public road, apparently to facilitate a speedy getaway, she recalled.

"We were all sitting outside; my husband and children and two friends and we were having a drink. Then all of a sudden a car pull up and the men jump out and said 'Police'. They had guns and they tell all of us to get inside and go upstairs and by chance, I don't know how, but I manage and escape from them and I started to scream on the road because I didn't know what was happening inside," Meshele told the Chronicle.

"After they (the bandits) left, they fired a couple of shots on the road...and then I see my husband coming down the step with blood on his face bleeding and then my children said they carried away everything," she lamented.

Residents said one of the men was dressed in Army wear (camouflage vest), while another had on the bullet-proof vest. They were all said to be wearing topes.

"Actually, the thing happened so quick. As soon as the car stopped, the men came out with the guns. We couldn't do nothing. All dey tell we is 'Police, Police' and leh we go inside...," Meshele recalled.

The couple's eldest son, Leno, who celebrated his 18th birthday yesterday on a sad note, told this newspaper that they were all sitting outside near the entrance of their beer garden chatting and having a nice time when the bandits struck.

"They come out with their guns. Mom luckily escaped; she get away from them. So was me, my dad, my sister and the two friends - the five of us dey ordered to go upstairs. When we were going up the step, I was walking a little slow and one of them took the gun and hit me and my father to go upstairs quick and when we reach upstairs they order all of us to lie on the ground," a visibly shaken Leno recalled.

The teenager said that one of the bandits pointed the gun at them as they pushed them to stay on the floor and would frequently nudge them in their backs with the machine gun. He said the other two bandits proceeded to empty their pockets and strip them of all the jewellery they had on at the time. He said the men also went inside the bedrooms and started to "tumble up the whole place and tek what they want".

Leno said the men relieved him of the gold hand band he was wearing and the two finger rings which he had on. He said too that the men told his father to get up from the floor and to hand over all the cash and jewellery. They also proceeded to deal him several blows about the body and face with the gun butt, after which he collapsed on the floor, blood streaming down his face.

"When they hit daddy, I was going to get up and one of the men took the gun butt and hit me in the back and push me down back on the ground," Leno recalled.

He said after his father collapsed on the floor, the bandits proceeded to terrorise his 11-year-old sister, Rookmani.

"They went to my sister and say dey gon kill she but I beg them to 'don't shoot she' because she is my lil sister," Leno said.

The young man said the bandits then escaped with all the cash and jewellery they could find along with his parents' and his sister's passports.

During all of this, Amar who was looking at television immediately prior to the incident, told the Chronicle that he ran into his room and hid under the bed.

Residents also lamented the fact that they are not safe in their own homes anymore and lashed out at the seeming inaction on the part of the Police to capture the bandits wreaking havoc on the lives of innocent persons.

"They (the Police) don't ever ketch anybody (bandits). When last you hear the Police ketch a thiefman? Them does tek ages to get to the scene and when they do arrive, they come with a lil gun and spend some time and then leave. You don't hear nothing after that. The bandits still on the loose and ready to strike again and the Police ready to go over the same cycle...," asserted one distraught resident who preferred anonymity.

The Narines own the business premises, but rent out a section to the left to some Chinese nationals who are using it to operate the 'Pearl Restaurant'. The right section is rented to some other persons, while the family lives in the middle section and upper flat of the building.

The Chinese woman who is operating the 'Pearl Restaurant' told this newspaper that no patron was at the eatery at the time of the incident. "Me see thiefman come and me fast hustle fu close up," she said in broken English.

A neighbour said he saw the entire incident from the start. According to him, he had just finished eating dinner and went out into his yard when he saw the car pull up and the men coming out with guns in their hands. "I knew they were not Police but bandits," the resident, who is a licensed firearm holder, said.

The neighbour, who declined to give his name because of fear of being victimised or attacked, admitted that he owns a small handgun but that when he saw the two men with their machine guns, which he believes are AK-47 assault rifles, he knew that putting up any sort of resistance would have been both futile and stupid.

A report was made to the Police.