Bandits rob Corentyne supermarket, kill man
Getaway vehicle crashed into fence
By Daniel Da Costa
Stabroek News
June 9, 2003

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The tranquility of the Lower Corentyne was shattered shortly after dusk on Saturday when two armed bandits attacked a Williamsburg Supermarket robbing its owners and killing a teacher during their getaway

In a daring bid to escape, the men shot and killed Saisenarine Ramnauth whose car they had commandeered and who reportedly struggled with them prior to his demise. The 26-year-old Comprehensive Secondary School teacher was shot in his face by one of the two bandits as he attempted to thwart their escape bid.

According to eyewitnesses the two masked men commandeered Ramnauth’s dark grey Toyota Sprinter motorcar PFF 1554, outside of the supermarket just after 6.30 pm as the supermarket was about to close. He had just returned to collect his sister who was shopping at the store. The two men forced him back into his car and ordered him to drive. However Ramnauth apparently struggled with his captors and within minutes the car was ploughing through the fence of a nearby house ripping the chain-link fencing apart before plunging into a ditch along the Corentyne public road. By this time he had been fatally shot. With no means of transportation, the two men fled the damaged vehicle on foot and escaped into the darkness.

Bibi Safina Ally, the wife of Akbar Sain, the owner of A. Sain and Son, Supermarket told Stabroek News that she was in the cashier’s booth at around 6.30 pm when she heard gunshots outside. “Within seconds I saw a masked man kicking at the door of the booth demanding that I open the door and threatening to kill me if I did not.” Ally said she opened the door and the man entered the booth and began collecting all the cash, several documents, including receipts, and a cellular phone. “The other one was outside relieving customers who they had ordered to lie on the floor of their cash and personal belongings”, she recalled. Prior to them entering the building the bandits had also robbed several customers who were standing outside along with the owner, Akbar Sain. Around 12 customers were robbed. A still distraught Ally said she was kicked once by one of the bandits who was demanding money from her forcing her to open a drawer where she kept the cash.

“As they left the store they fired a few shots in the air before forcing Ramnauth to drive them away”, she said. Ally showed this newspaper a hole made by a bullet in the wall at the front of the building. The supermarket was opened some two years ago by Sain, the father of two children, a boy and a girl. One of his brothers who has since migrated was also a victim of a robbery at his Bloomfield store a few years ago. Ally said she suspects that the bandits were not from the immediate vicinity since they kept asking for the owner who at the time was lying outside with the other customers. The entire ordeal, she recounted, lasted between “ten to fifteen minutes.”

According to Ally, while the bandits were in the store, a telephone call was made to the Albion Police Station about one mile away. “The person was however told by the police that they did not have any vehicle to respond to the call. It was not until some 30 minutes later that they turned up on foot. If they had responded immediately I am certain they would have caught them in the store”, she lamented. Two weeks ago a businesswoman was robbed by armed bandits at Hampshire, the adjoining village.

Asked what were their plans now, Ally said “I do not know” with a sign of hopelessness on her face. She was also uncertain whether they will be open for business today. Ramnauth lived at Ankerville, Port Mourant with his mother and a sister. According to a relative he was the sole breadwinner in the family and apart from teaching also worked part-time at a nearby snackette and bakery. His car which is at the Albion Police Station was partly damaged as a result of the crash.

According to “B” Division Commander, Assistant Commissioner, Paul Slowe a search has been launched for the men. A few armed robberies over recent months have again begun to worry the business community. A number of Community Policing Groups, which were established two years ago in the area in the wake of an upsurge in crime, have more or less disappeared. The upsurge in crime then had led to several mass protests and President Bharrat Jagdeo had intervened. The Albion police station was last year the recipient of a 4x4 vehicle assigned to a special anti-crime squad stationed there but was not available on Saturday night. The brazen attack and shooting was yesterday the talking point among most Berbicians as concerns over security heighten across the length and breadth of the region.

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