Taxi business hard hit by crime situation
Guyana Chronicle
May 18, 2004

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IN THE wake of continuing criminal activities, the taxi business countrywide has been hard hit by loss of lives, kidnappings, numerous injuries and robberies.

Many of those who have survived the murderous incidents tell horror stories while others recount brutal treatment meted out to them and still live in fear.

Operators point out that picking up passengers has now become very risky because some would say they are going to one destination and change the instructions en route, leading to deserted locations where the drivers are made victims of gunpoint robberies and hijackings.

In an interview, a hire-car driver with five years experience said, apart from taking your car, the bandits would rob you of other valuables and personal belongings.

Yet more taxi services are being established, in rural areas, too.

The interviewee, who prefers anonymity, said robbers often pretend to be genuine commuters but end up robbing you of musical equipment, communication sets and the day's earnings.

Most taxi drivers have installments to pay for their vehicles but many now do not work at nights because of the situation and refuse to accept fares to certain areas where they can be easy prey.

Last Saturday night, Quacy Rawlins, 23, of Industrial Area, Mackenzie, Linden, was robbed after he undertook to drive a man from Mackenzie Market Square to One Mile Wismar at 11.45 p.m.

Before they got to the requested destination, the passenger whipped out a gun and put it to Rawlins' head, then took away his $110,000 gold chain at a place called 'Saddam'.

In February, March, April and May, five taxi drivers were robbed, one was murdered and six cars hijacked by gunmen.

Rooplall, 35, was the victim of two robbers who took $6,000 from him at Unity, East Coast Demerara on February 7.

On February 23, Bronson Rutherford, 29, Caneville, Grove, East Bank Demerara, was beaten to death after he disembarked his car at Irving and Crown Streets, Queenstown, Georgetown.

Muneshwar Sharma, of Lot 27 Good Hope, was robbed of $3,000 and a wallet containing documents by three gun-toting bandits at Middle Walk, Buxton, after they asked to be taken to Mon Repos, also on East Coast Demerara, early on the morning of March 25.

Russel Smith, of Vreed-en-Hoop, lost HB 448 to two hijackers at Crane Village, also on West Coast Demerara at 11.45 p.m.

The robbers had joined his car in Kitty, on March 25, but after the robbery, they ordered him out of it and gave him $200 as his going home fare.

That vehicle was not recovered.

The April 4 victim, Paul Sookram, 27, of Meadow Brook Gardens, was forced to crash his car into a lamp post at Festival City, when two men tried to force him into the back seat after taking $5,000, a cellular phone and silver jewellery from him.

He was parked in Sheriff Street at 3 a.m. when the robber took a hire to Festival City, where a second passenger joined the car and pressed a gun to his head.

Dennis Greaves, 50, of South Sophia, was robbed and his car hijacked by two men on February 26, at Guyhoc Park, another part of the capital, at 4.30 a.m.

Peter Rickford, 38, drove himself to seek treatment at the Accident & Emergency Unit of Georgetown Public Hospital on the same evening after being shot three times by two gunmen at Lamaha and Thomas Streets.

Last year, some taxi driver who were murdered, included Linden Hoyte alias 'Bage', 34, whose body was discovered in a clump of bushes at Tuc Ville Terrace, La Penitence, with a single gunshot wound to the head, on January 17.

Sherwin Dalgetty, 31, of Half Mile, Wismar, Linden, was shot dead and his corpse left on an access road leading to Camp Groomes, a Guyana Defence Force (GDF) military base along the Soesdyke/Linden highway, on May 2.

Sherwin Manohar nicknamed 'Coolie', 25, was found dead, his body riddled with bullets at Turkeyen Access Road, East Coast Demerara, on August 15.

Troy Hinds, of Mandela Avenue, Lodge, was shot dead at Forshaw and Albert Streets, Queenstown, another Georgetown ward, on October 31.

Vivekanand Nandlall, 20, of Non Pariel, was kidnapped by a group of men while going to Imax Gardens, another East Coast Demerara village, on October 17.

His car was abandoned at Annandale Railway Embankment and a ransom was paid but a body, which Police and relatives believed is his was found in the cane fields at Bachelor's Adventure this year.

Meanwhile, although $2.5M was handed over to abductors but taxi driver Kemraj Dalchand, 42,of Grove, Mahaica, East Coast Demerara, was never found.

He was on a mission to Mahaica Creek on April 25, 2003. His car, HB7 was later found abandoned at Herstelling, East Bank Demerara.