Man with AK-47 mowed down Natoo's bar - witness
Stabroek News
September 27, 2002

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Wednesday night's massacre at Natoo's Liquor Store in Kitty was committed by a single gunman, according to an eyewitness to the mayhem.

The eyewitness, who preferred anonymity, told Stabroek News yesterday that at about 7:00 pm on Wednesday, a white car pulled up at the Pike Street drinking parlour, which was frequented by "top" officials.

The witness said the passenger got out and entered the bar with an AK-47 rifle. Before anyone had time to react, the gunman opened fire "and weeded down the whole place, firing indiscriminately moving the gun from side to side."

According to the witness, everybody hit the ground. The gunman then returned to the car, which pulled off swiftly with screeching tyres. The witness said at no point did the driver get out of the vehicle. The driver, the witness said, remained at the wheel, with the engine running.

Stabroek News understands that Joy Arjune, a former employee of the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph (GT&T) Company Ltd, her brother, Lloyd Singh and others were sitting at the front table near the door. The witness said the siblings and their company were in the direct line of fire. Neither Arjune nor Singh survived the tragedy. Two other persons, identified as motor racer Gavin Naraine, 42, and Customs Broker Fazeer Baksh, 20, also lost their lives.

A number of persons, including Director of Public Prosecutions, Denis Hanomansingh, whom other sources said, seemed to have been the target, were wounded. Hanomansingh was with a group at the bar, directly behind Arjune's table.

Both the Minister of Home Affairs and the Guyana Bar Association yesterday condemned that shooting, as well as another that occurred about five minutes prior on the same night, in which 19-year-old Delroy Gomes was murdered.

According to the association, "violence in the society has long reached unprecedented levels and threatens the very existence of the rule of law. The inability of the country's security system in its present state to contain, much less overcome this new level of violence is a matter for the most urgent national concern.

"We are consistent in our belief that an effective response to this situation demands a national consensus on the creation of a proper and efficient security system operating professionally and properly trained equipped and paid."

Further, the GBA offered its support in the participation of any non-partisan national effort to review the security environment, which would include the taking of adequate measures to deal with the problem.

Meanwhile, Home Affairs Minister Ronald Gajraj in a strongly worded statement in parliament yesterday said the two grave and grievous incidents which occurred on Wednesday evening were a direct consequence of the February 23 prison break which saw five dangerous felons being let loose on society. According to the minister, "Wednesday's incidents were particularly callous, daring in their commitment and represent utter disregard for the human rights and lives of our citizens going about their normal business."

The violence, particularly of Wednesday, he noted, like all the incidents, especially those during the present crime-infested period, "have stirred feelings of anger and well-founded cause for firmer actions by the appropriate authorities and in which law-abiding citizens from all walks of life show a willingness to assist."

According to Gajraj, "this is undoubtedly one of the more serious incidents experienced since February. And has heightened the fear and anxiety our law abiding citizens, particularly in certain geographical areas and communities of our country."