Woman says relatives mistakenly held after car discovered at Buxton
August 19, 2002
The owner of a car which was hijacked by four men on Thursday and later abandoned in the Buxton backdam, yesterday said that members of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) had wrongly apprehended relatives and friends of hers who were only assisting in returning her car.
Dawn Jules told Stabroek News that her relatives and friends were kept at CID Headquarters, Eve Leary for several hours and were released at around 2:30 pm on Friday after giving statements to the police. The three men and one woman were handed over to the police just before daybreak on Friday after they were found in the vicinity of the car which was submerged in a small trench at the back of Buxton.
A release from the army on Friday said that the car HB 230, was found submerged in the trench between Wilkens Road and Palm Dam, Buxton early Friday morning. The release said that one female and three men in the vicinity, who claimed to have seen four people emerge from the vehicle were taken into custody.
The woman, who said the car was only bought about a month ago, said that the drama all started at around 7:30 on Thursday evening when the driver of the car was hired by two men from the Stabroek car park who said they wanted to be taken to Princes Street.
The woman said the driver, who does not want his name to be made public, reported that before he pulled off two other men joined the car and he took them to Princes Street, Lodge, and before the men could disembark one of them placed a gun to his head and told him to “come out the f...ing car.” The driver said before he could step out of the car the man fired off a bullet which passed through his jersey sleeve and lodged in the car’s right front door lock.
The men then robbed the driver of $1,200 and three gold rings and sped off with the car. The driver later sought assistance to go to Eve Leary where he made a report and was told by a rank that he saw the car in the vicinity of Plaisance heading up the East Coast on the Railway Embankment.
The woman said that after her driver reported the incident to her she then contacted a relative of hers who is also a taxi driver and he and a friend travelled up to Buxton where they suspected the car might have stopped.
She said that during the time they were in constant contact by way of cellular phone and her relative later reported that they spotted the car leaving one dam and entering another. They decided to wait at the head of the dam on the embankment to observe if the car would leave.
But after the car did not return to the embankment her relative and friend drove down the dam and at the end of it they saw the car in the trench.
That was around 2:30 am on Friday and Jules said when she received that news she contacted her sister and husband who along with the owner of a canter truck headed up to Buxton to take the car out of the trench.
They said while they were in the process of taking the car out of the trench the army patrol came upon them. And after searching her relative and friend they placed them in the car and placed her sister, husband and the owner of the canter truck to lie at the back of the truck.
Asked why her relative and friend did not contact the police or the army patrol when they found the car, the woman said earlier in the night, the police had said they had to get permission to visit Buxton and further the men were afraid of approaching the army patrol because they feared they might have been shot at.
She said while her relatives and friend were being brought to Georgetown by the army she called one of their cell phones and a person answered the phone identifying himself as Mickey. She later learnt that it was an army rank who answered the phone.
The woman said even though she did not know the name she asked the person if they had gotten the car out and the person replied in the affirmative and then asked “so wa me must tell them,” referring to the police. Jules said she became annoyed and told the person since the car is hers and was hijacked then that is what should be told to the police. She suspected that the solider was attempting to ascertain if what her relatives told him was the truth.
According to her the man later informed her to travel to Eve Leary with the car registration and she complied and it was only on arrival she learnt her relatives were taken into custody. They along with the car were released on Friday afternoon. (Samantha Alleyne)