Gunmen rob Caneville family
-woman kicked around like 'football'
By Samantha Alleyne
March 22, 2004
The shop belonging to Barbot Paul and his wife Latifan Ali which was robbed by armed bandits on Saturday night. (Ken Moore photo)
Three bandits on Saturday robbed a Caneville, East Bank Demerara family of over $400,000 in cash and jewellery during which they kicked a fifty-three-year-old woman like a "football".
The three bandits, two reportedly armed with 9mm pistols and the other with a Beretta, targeted the Lot 445 Second Field home owned by Barbot Paul, fifty, and his fifty-three-year-old wife, Latifan Ali, where they also run a small shop.
When Stabroek News arrived on the scene Ali and her thirteen-year-old granddaughter, who also experienced the ordeal, were sitting around still frightened from the night's experience.
Recounting the incident, Paul told Stabroek News that it was around 8:50 pm and he was having a drink with three men in the shop while his wife was at the counter and his granddaughter was outside the shop.
The place was dark since the area does not have electricity and it was at that point the three bandits with their weapons at the ready stormed into the shop.
Gun-butted: Dino Singh shows the injury to his head suffered at the hands of bandits who robbed and terrorised his family on Friday night. (Ken Moore photo)
Paul said two of the bandits went straight to the shop counter while the third took up a position at the gate. He said the bandit at the gate pointed the gun at him and he attempted to snatch the weapon from the man when he observed that one of the other men had a gun to his wife's head and he was ordering her to hand over her jewellery.
"My wife was wearing a lot of jewellery, she always wear plenty jewellery because that is her culture. He make her take off all her jewellery worth some $150,000," Paul, who is a contractor, said.
The third bandit then grabbed the thirteen-year-old her girl and took her into the shop while the other one who had also entered the ship started to beat Ali and marched her into the house where he ransacked it while demanding money.
In the meantime the bandit at the gate ordered Paul and his three companions to lie on the ground and robbed them of cellular phones and other items. Paul was robbed of $16,000 and a cellular phone, however he was able to take off his jewellery and hide it.
"They take me wife into the house and she handed over some $300,000 and they kick her round like a football," the man said. There were several marks on the woman's hand as evidence that the men had beaten her.
After gathering the money and jewellery the bandit in the house was not satisfied and demanded more but the woman told him that was all she had while informing him that her husband was in the shop. She then took the opportunity to escape by scaling the back fence in the yard. The three men then escaped south into the village but not before firing off two shots in the air.
An angry Paul lashed out at both the government and the PNCR when discussing the crime situation in Guyana.
He noted that there have been several robberies in the area in recent times and called on the government to arm business people. He said that he was the holder of a licensed firearm but the licence was revoked because of threatening behaviour. "But the matter was investigated and I was cleared and it was recommended that I receive my licence back," the man said. He urged President Bharrat Jagdeo to help him get back his licence.
"(Home Affairs) Minister (Ronald) Gajraj did his part", he added. He called upon the commissioner of the police to loan businessmen guns to protect themselves.
The man also spoke of Saturday's march for the rule of law stating that the PNCR should apologise to all the Indian victims of robberies and murders stating that the party should not jump on the bandwagon and represent certain persons killed "because out here it is real and people suffering. I am being targeted and I am speaking out."
He is of the opinion that Minister Gajraj should not be removed since he has done a lot to remove the criminals from the country. Paul called on persons to support the minister.
The shop has been functioning for the past three years and this is the first time it has been robbed.
The man said he has been trying for some time to have a conversation with the president but all his efforts were unsuccessful. He gave his telephone number as 622-2530 and is appealing to the head of state to contact him.
The two cellular phones stolen by the bandits were found in some grass yesterday morning. The matter was reported and the shop was visited by policemen.