Bright daylight on Sheriff St
Gunmen snatch businessman By Kim Lucas
Stabroek News
October 2, 2002

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Four men armed with AK-47’s kidnapped city businessman and race car driver Kamal Seebarran from his Sheriff Street auto dealership yesterday morning.

It was the latest strike in a sharply escalating crime wave that has the country in jitters.

Shortly after the man was snatched from Ray’s Motor Spares and Auto Sales, the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) deployed a helicopter in an effort to locate the kidnappers’ burgundy Toyota AE 192, which, the police said, bore licence plate PHH 6872. However, after scouting East Coast Demerara and East Bank Demerara, the army chopper returned to base without sighting the vehicle. Some sources say that the gunmen might have switched cars shortly after the kidnapping.

Up to press time last night, Seebarran’s relatives and friends said they had not received any demands for ransom.

Rumours were rife in the city yesterday over the kidnapping and other alleged crimes. The police and media houses spent time trying to dispel these as frantic citizens tried to find out what was happening.

The police, in a release last night, said that the rumours were “totally untrue and only serve to create undue panic in society.” The police are asking the ‘rumour-mongers’ to desist from “this grossly irresponsible and undesirable behaviour.”

Speculation was rife yesterday that the incident marked a new dimension in Guyana’s escalating crime wave, mirroring the ongoing spate of kidnappings in neighbouring Trinidad and Tobago.

Eyewitnesses to the kidnapping said Seebarran was whisked away by four gunmen who were not wearing masks after they had made an unsuccessful demand for cash at Ray’s. According to one man who was standing opposite the business place at the time, four men, strapped in bulletproof vests and each carrying an AK-47 rifle, emerged from a burgundy car at about 8:30 am and went into the auto dealership.

About three minutes later, the man said, the gunmen left with Seebarran, whose hands were behind his back, placed him into the back seat of the car and drove off.

“They come in with guns pointing down to the ground...AK-47s. We thought was police [and] when they come out back with Kamal, we say like they arrest somebody,” the man said.

No shots were fired and residents and business operatives in the immediate vicinity were unaware of what had transpired. When Stabroek News turned up on the scene, a huge crowd had gathered and several of the businesses nearby had shut up shop.

One person within Seebarran’s place was overheard saying, “He [Seebarran] gon be alright...just as long as de police don’t [get involved].”

Reports state that the gunmen entered the business premises, held up Seebarran and two other employees, took them into the back office at gunpoint and demanded cash.

According to the police, the bandits robbed Seebarran and the other two men of a quantity of cash and jewellery, at gunpoint, before forcing Seebarran into a motorcar.

Stabroek News was told that the kidnappers asked Seebarran his identity before carting him off. Employees said the bandits had also ransacked the back office.

Seebarran’s kidnapping was the third such case reported since April when on April 9th a man and a woman were reportedly snatched in front of Hotel Tower on Main Street.

Marceline Basdeo and Andre Ramphal, the latter of Subryanville and Managing Director of Anral Shipping, went missing. Basdeo’s car was used the following day by bandits who attempted to rob a home in Section `K’ Campbellville. The car was later abandoned in front of the American School in Prashad Nagar. The duo subsequently reappeared, saying they were taken to a Bel Air house, but had managed to escape.

Then on June 24, three heavily armed and masked men in a white car abducted Gem Rodrigues, a dance director, and her son, Akeem while the pair was in front of the Let’s Dance Studio on Woolford Avenue, Georgetown.

One week later, the mother and child were released unharmed.