Passenger says life spared by jammed gun By Kim Lucas
Stabroek News
September 29, 2002

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One of two men who survived Friday morning's attack at Buxton says his life was spared because the gunman's weapon jammed.

Dhanwant Persaud called `Danesh', and his 73-year-old father, Kampta, were on their way to the airport from the Corentyne when the car in which they were travelling was attacked in the troubled village.

The Persauds escaped unharmed, but the driver of the car, Seeram Pomdass, 44, and Persaud's cousin, 63-year-old Cecil Sahadeo, were not that fortunate. At about 6:15am, they were gunned down by four youths, who had blocked the car's path.

In a telephone interview yesterday from the United States where the Persauds had travelled, Dhanwant Persaud recalled: "We were travelling and when we reached Buxton, we see four men run up, run across the car, in a short distance in front the car, [about] three rods. They tell the chauffeur, `Stop the f.... car'. They were cursing. Nobody ask any question. They just point the gun at my head and shot at me. But when they shot at me, the bullet didn't come out. Then they went close to the head of the chauffeur and shot him in the temple. After that, they go to meh cousin [Sahadeo] and shot him. Me tell meh father, `Okay, we are going to die now.' I bend down his head and tell him to pray."

The younger Persaud said he and his old father remained on the floor of the car. There was a lull and then he heard Sahadeo ask, "Dan, they gone?"

"Me tell him stay quiet. Then all meh hear [Sahadeo] give a `Ugh!' then he pass out," the man said.

But three minutes later there was a second barrage of bullets.

"They mek a next shot to the back door and bus' up de glass. But we stay quiet."

Some time later, Persaud said, some of the villagers went to their assistance. At first he heard the voices of villagers urging them to get out of the car, but being afraid, he and his father remained in the vehicle for some time.

When they finally emerged, Persaud said all thoughts were to get his father to a doctor. That proved unsuccessful, so he paid a bus driver US$50 to rush them to the airport, where they continued on their intended journey to the United States.

Persaud said he and his father, a US citizen, were fortunate to have had their travel documents on them. But they were forced to leave their luggage behind. The suitcases contained, among other things, several documents, the old man's prescription tablets and a pressure gauge to treat Kampta Persaud's hypertension.

According to Dhanwant Persaud, the incident has affected his father a great deal.

"Oh God! Meh nah sleep in the night... But we pray to have justice and peace of mind."

Dhanwant's older brother, Bramhadatt Persaud, who also lives in the US, had earlier explained that their father had returned to Guyana a little more than a year ago, to take his family up to the States.

Bramhadatt Persaud explained that the rest of the family had left the country in April just as the crime wave was beginning to escalate. Their father, however, had remained behind because Dhanwant was unable to travel then.

"We had to hide and come here, because then [in April], they had already start to dig up the road at Buxton," Bramhadatt Persaud told this newspaper.

He stated, though, that they did not leave Guyana because of the crime situation. "Crime was always in Guyana", the Berbician said, but for his family, the US provided better educational opportunities.

The deaths of the two men Friday morning came shortly after the discovery of the body of Buxtonian Clyde Duncan, in a trench at Company Road, Buxton. The man was shot in the head, apparently during a shootout the night before between an army patrol and unknown assailants.

On Thursday night, a large band of persons launched an attack on the Vigilance Police Station, also on the East Coast Demerara. Sources told this newspaper that at about 7:30 pm Thursday, one group of persons hid in the bushes opposite the precinct, while the second band launched an attack from the rear of the station.

The cops returned fire and the gunmen retreated, but half an hour later, an army patrol in Buxton came under fire. A total of four men were detained after that assault, one of whom had to be admitted to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation with a gunshot wound to the shoulder.

But tensions grew the following morning with the discovery of Duncan's body, which was partly submerged in a trench.