New Amsterdam taxi driver hijacked, freed
Female passenger thrown into trench By Daniel Da Costa
Stabroek News
October 22, 2003

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Police in New Amsterdam were yesterday probing the latest in a new series of taxi driver hijackings, during which a female passenger was injured when she was dumped into a trench.

The taxi driver, who was hijacked by four young men in Stanleytown on the south-eastern edge of New Amsterdam, was subsequently released. However, the operators of the taxi service were yesterday afternoon mum about the incident.

According to reports, the driver was transporting a female passenger from the New Amsterdam Hospital to the Stanleytown area at around 11:45 am, when he picked up the four men at the corner of Republic Road and Philadelphia Street.

As he approached Lot 41 Stanleytown, the female passengerís reported destination, the four men who were sitting in the rear passenger seat told the driver they were going further south.

The driver reportedly told investigators that the men then told him to continue driving and forced him to drive along a mud dam which runs parallel to one of the Guyana Sugar Corporationís (GUYSUCO) cane fields on the south-eastern edge of New Amsterdam. On the mud dam, the four men bundled the driver and the female passenger out of the car. Stabroek News understands that the menís ages range between 18 and 21 years.

Before escaping into the nearby cane fields the men reportedly removed the tape deck and the carís transmission (radio) set. According to a police source, the men did not rob the driver or the woman of any cash or valuables.

However, the woman was thrown into a trench and was found by police ranks in an unconscious state. She was taken to the hospital and at press time was said to be in a stable condition, having regained consciousness.

Contacted for a comment, the operators of the service, one of several that have mushroomed over recent years in that town, told this newspaper that they were not in a position to say anything since the driver was still in the process of providing a statement to investigators. They said the car was also in the possession of the police.

According to a police source, the driver managed to contact the police by telephone after he was thrown out of the car by his abductors. The source said it appeared that none of the abductors was armed but there has been a lot of speculation over the reason for them removing the carís radio set.

Over the past three weeks there have been at least four armed robberies in the township perpetuated by bandits armed with guns, knives and cutlasses.

Just over two weeks ago, two men robbed the owner and three patrons of a liquor restaurant of cash, jewellery and a mobile phone. One of the robbers was armed with a gun and the other with a cutlass. A few days later, another liquor restaurant was robbed by a gang of three, which included a female.

The owner was beaten by the bandits who robbed him of a quantity of cash. According to the police, a woman was held in connection with the robbery after a mobile phone left behind at the scene was reported lost by her at the local phone company office. At around 8:00 pm on Sunday at Vrymanís Erven, three armed men robbed a businessman and his wife of a quantity of cash, jewellery and goods.

To date, no charges have been laid in connection with any of these robberies but according to the police their investigations are continuing. There has been an increase in armed police patrols in and around the town since the first two incidents were reported. The police have been calling on citizens to assist them in their fight against crime and to report any strange activity or suspicious-looking individuals in their neighbourhoods.

ĎBí Divisionís Commander, Assistant Commissioner Paul Slowe, is expected to meet members of the business community later this week to sensitise them on security precautions in the wake of the recent attacks.

New Amsterdam has long been a peaceful community and the recent incidents have sparked widespread concern and condemnation. Some citizens are of the view that the key players in the attacks are persons from outside the township who are being aided and abetted by local petty thieves.