January 19, 2003
One day after he was shot in the head during a robbery attack at Annandale, East Coast Demerara, retired teacher Jainarine Singh yesterday succumbed at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation.
The death of the 51-year-old father of two has left the community in shock and angry residents say they feel helpless, despite the heavy military presence in the area.
Singh's grief-stricken widow, Nalini Persaud, told Stabroek News yesterday that the man had left their home to buy something at the market, moments before the attack on Parsaram's store a few streets away. That was the last time she saw him alive.
Reports state that shortly after 11:00 am on Friday, four gunmen on bicycles entered Vick Parsaram's store in Marshall street, Annandale, and carted off about $110,000 in cash. The robbers fired several shots as they retreated into the adjoining village of Buxton, hitting Singh in the process. The man was rushed to the hospital and underwent emergency surgery, but at about 6:00 am yesterday, while preparing to visit him, Singh's wife received the news that he had passed away.
When Stabroek News visited the home yesterday, the woman explained that Singh was preparing to leave the country soon to visit his ailing mother in Canada.
She wept continuously, but the other women around her voiced their concern about the state of the country and the crime situation.
"I can't see what really a go on in this country. The army and the police, dem two got to wuk together. Them two nah a wuk together. They got to pull themself and wuk together, side by side. Sometimes when you going to the market, you pass three vanloads [of soldiers or police patrolling]. I can't see within that couple minutes where these soldier went?" This was one resident's reaction to Friday's crime.
Since the escape of five men from the Camp Street jail on February 23, last year, there has been a sharp rise in the number of violent crimes. Just last year alone, more than 140 people, including 14 law enforcement officers and three of the prison escapees, were brutally slain. There were also more than 200 reported robberies, 92 shooting incidents, 64 carjackings and 12 kidnappings, two of which ended in death.
Since the start of the new year, four policemen, a member of the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) and several civilians have been shot dead. The joint services reported last week that they are convinced that the criminals are feeling "pressured."
Another woman visiting Singh's home yesterday told Stabroek News: "Everyday is something. If you walk with yuh bicycle, dem beat yuh and tek it 'way. De li'l children can't go to school, yuh got to tek them out from school and send them private school and not all time you got the money. Bus man nah a stop fo them, because they [the bandits] come and stick up the bus man and take 'way the money..."
As they sit pondering their dilemma, the women asked where they should turn for help, and where they could go if they were to leave their homes? For them, the only solution is foreign intervention.
"I say they should bring in some outside soldier, because this Guyanese soldier and this Guyanese police can't do nothing, especially on this East Coast. None shop nah open when you go...The minibus man say them ain't going to Buxton. They turning back. People frighten to go Buxton. When you got wake, people frighten to come out; if people got wedding, nobody nah turn up. And then you got to lock up you house early, early. Whole day you got to deh inside you yard with a big padlock on the gate... Look, yesterday when me come from de hospital, me go to buy a bottle limacol and them people nah open... In de night, by time you lay down, you jump because gun a fire off. Three nights gone by, one set of them come in this area with gun. Them bandits terrible, terrible. In this place, you live in fear. Me frighten. This morning me go market, quick, quick you got to scramble couple things and run home... peace nah deh," one angry woman burst out. The complaints are the same throughout the East Coast Demerara and the unasked question remains hanging - who is next?