Armed bandits batter, rob Mahaica family
Escape in hijacked taxi
Stabroek News
July 11, 2002

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Four heavily armed bandits terrorised and beat a businessman and his family early Tuesday evening at their home in Belmonte, Mahaica, East Coast Demerara and later escaped in a car with an undisclosed sum of cash and several pieces of jewellery.

The car in which they escaped was reportedly one that had been hijacked from a driver attached to Uprising Taxi Service. The bandits hijacked the car, HA 9941, on Sunday evening in Princes Street, Wortmanville.

The driver, Ian Poole had told reporters that two men armed with guns had trapped him as he slowed to pass a pothole and relieved him of his car. He said he was forced to hand over his car and was struck on his head with one of the menís firearms.

Yesterday, when Stabroek News visited the family, Michelle Narine wife of Haymant Narine, who was beaten by the bandits, said that the car in which the men were travelling had a number plate marked HA 94. She opined that the men might have removed the first and last numbers of the original number plate.

Mrs Narine said that she, her husband, one of her children and two friends were in front of their yard conversing when at about 8 pm, the car pulled up. She said that immediately, the men jumped out with their guns at the ready and ordered them, using a series of expletives, to stop what they were doing. "Donít move! Everybody walk straight! Go upstairs!" According to the mother of two, while the men were shouting orders she managed to escape from them and fled south along the street. But the driver had remained in the car and he pursued her. She said with the car close behind, she ran into a neighbourís yard and shouted: "Thief! thief! thief!." But the woman said that no one responded; all of the residents closed their doors and windows and hid for safety.

While this was happening, the bandits escorted Haymant, Michelleís friends and her daughter upstairs and severely beat Haymant just above his forehead.

The woman said that while one of the men was assaulting her husband another one pointed a gun at the head of her 11-year-old daughter; her son had ducked under his bed for cover. Amar Narine related yesterday that while he hid under the bed he could hear the three men quarrelling with his father and later he heard sounds of someone being beaten. "I couldnít tell who it was, but de men dem was really cussin bad."

The 16-year-old recounted that one of the bandits then led his father into his room where a purse laden with jewellery was handed over to them along with large sums of cash. He told Stabroek News that after collecting that, the men turned on his motherís friends, ransacked their pockets, and took away all that they had before beating them also. They then left the upper flat of the house.

Michelle Narine said that when the men came downstairs, her husband, children and friends followed them and cried out again for help in the neighbourhood but no one responded.

She said that the bandits then left the yard when another shout was heard and one of them, incensed, alerted his accomplices: "Leh we go now kochore (someone who tells on others) deh round, kochore deh round." She said they finally exited the yard and fired a hail of bullets, splintering a few of their windowpanes, denting a part of the verandah and threatening to kill her daughter. She said they got into their car and departed the scene in a northerly direction.

Michelle Narine said that while the men were in the house, residents who were hiding in their homes made several calls to the police station. The police responded some 30 minutes after the incident. She noted that the banditsí car would have passed the police station on the way back to Georgetown.

The Narines had been operating their business for several years and Mr Narine had been contracted by Demerara Distillers Ltd to transport beverages. His wife told this newspaper that despite the wounds her husband sustained he reported to work yesterday. She said he told her that the bandits lashed him several times about his body before one of them clobbered him with his gun butt.

The family was in a state of shock after the incident and Michelle Narine said she no longer felt safe operating the family business. "Right now boy I wish if I had a visa I woulda leave this country right now. Imagine you work so hard to get what you gat and dem come and tek all."

She insisted that the government was not providing adequate security for the ordinary citizens of the country. "look whatís happening, since this robbery ting started so many people were robbed yet they ainít catch none a dem and they ainít doing nothing to stop this ting."

Michelle said that while her neighbours had not responded, she knew that they were behind her. She remarked that residents in her neighbourhood were very peaceful.