Residents beaten after Buxton man held for robbery
July 6, 2002
Quick action by members of the Guyana Police Force yesterday prevented the escalation of violence by villagers on the lower East Coast Demerara (ECD) after police had arrested a Buxtonian in connection with an armed robbery.
The police said in a press release that at about 7:15 am yesterday, they responded to a report of robbery at Non Pariel, ECD and arrested Quincy Blair of Buxton, who they said was found in the home of a resident of Non Pariel.
Blair, the release said, was alleged to have wounded the resident in the head during the robbery. Shortly after his arrest, the police said, a group of persons from Buxton went into Bladen Hall and stoned the home of a resident. A member of this group, the police said, who was dressed in military-type uniform also assaulted a resident with a cutlass and a gun and chopped another resident about the body.
As a result of the incident, a riot unit from Georgetown was dispatched to the area to join other patrols that were already in the district. When Stabroek News arrived at the scene the Buxtonians had retreated to their village and could be seen in a group on the embankment road. Ranks of the Guyana Defence Force were patrolling the area and Tactical Services Unit members were on the East Coast Public Road.
The Buxtonians contended that they attacked the villagers after they were shot at but residents of Bladen Hall said that the group of about 500 persons had pounced on them without warning.
The commotion started at around 7:15 am, when Ann Latchman of 470 Non Pariel, who was in her kitchen washing dishes, saw a man approaching her armed with a cutlass. Latchman said that she immediately realised that she had left her front door open.
According to the 33-year-old mother of two, her daughter was in the sitting room and for her safety she raised no alarm. She said the man dealt her several slaps and cuffs about her face saying: "Wheh de money dey, go bring it now." Latchman said she left the sink and removed $8,000 from a can, which she gave to the man. But he demanded more, holding the cutlass to her throat. She said he then led her into their bedroom and requested jewellery. "We ain't get plenty gold but I opened the drawer and gave him what we had." She estimated that the jewellery was worth some $20,000.
The woman said that the man then loosened his hold on her neck and she dashed under the bed and told her daughter to run. "Boy, when me daughter run, he start to cuff me all over me body. But I hold onto his hand that had the cutlass and we wrestled for a while."
Latchman said he managed to free his hand and chopped her across the forehead. Bloodstains were yesterday evident in her room from the wounds she sustained. She said when she received the blow she fell on her face and the man fled. But she managed to shout out to neighbours and her daughter joined in. Four men gave chase.
She said the attacker threw his cutlass, which was later recovered by the police, into a trench. Latchman told Stabroek News that the men chased the attacker from Non Pariel into nearby Strathspey, where he ran into a house. She said that the men sought to arrest him, but a female occupant of the house prevented them.
One of the men who gave chase, said that while they were there in front of the house, two men summoned help from Buxton and soon, a large group arrived on the scene. The man said that some of the Buxtonians were armed and he and the others retreated to their village. Shortly after, the police arrived and they arrested the man. At the departure of the police, the Buxtonians began crossing drains behind Bladen Hall Multilateral School.
David Persaud, a married father of two, was about to leave his yard when a group of people pounced upon him. Persaud said that two of the men - one dressed in military-like fatigues and carrying a machine gun and the other with a cutlass - held him up. He said that the man with the gun rammed the weapon several times into his stomach, while the other dealt him a number of lashes across his back and forearm with the cutlass.
Persaud, who was seen yesterday lying on a nearby stall, said he was beaten for more than ten minutes and when he fell on his face, the men stomped on him. The 25-year-old man's back was lacerated, his chest had cut marks and his stomach was bruised. He complained about severe pain to his back and head which he hit after the fall. He said when the police later returned to the scene they threw some water on him to revive him. Persaud said that while he was being beaten, his fellow villagers ran for cover, and those who were unfortunate to escape felt the full force of the assault.
Leaving Persaud the Buxtonians turned on another resident who gave his name as Baldeo. Baldeo said that some 40 of the Buxtonians showed up at his house and began throwing missiles. He said they also entered his house and broke a few of his window panes before overturning his horse cart and then chopping his horse's neck The man's horse was seen in a state of discomfort yesterday and was unable to stand comfortably on its feet. His house was littered with huge stones and other debris.
"Me na do dem nothing," Baldeo said.
Another resident who was assaulted but managed to escape, said that the Buxtonians told him that they were going to return. He said that he was hiding behind a tree when he saw a group stop a man who was riding a bicycle and lash him with pieces of wood and their cutlasses. He said that the man, who is also an employee at the Guyana Power and Light Inc pleaded with them that he was going to Buxton to repair someone's lights, but his pleas were ignored.
He said the man was trying to block a cutlass that was aimed at his face and that was how his left hand was injured. All during this time, the police had not returned to the area and teachers of Bladen Hall Multilateral School were forced to leave school earlier than usual. A few of the students who were there to uplift their reports, quickly did so and departed.
The police arrived at about 9:30 am this time with the unit from Georgetown and GDF ranks. They were able to restore order.
While Stabroek News was in the area at around 3 pm yesterday many of the residents whose houses are situated not far from the embankment, stood on the Strathspey Middlewalk discussing what their next move would be. Some of them said that they were afraid to return home and were contemplating relocation for the time being.
The police and GDF had mobile patrols in the area extending as far as Melanie Damishana to the east of Buxton and Lusignan to the west.
Meanwhile, the police also said that Blair had been charged on June 20, with attempting to commit a felony after he was arrested at a business premises on the East Coast. He was placed on $7,500 bail.