An argument at the Diven’s Hangout Bar in Strathspey, East Coast Demerara resulted in a fight which left one man dead and several others with minor injuries just after midnight yesterday.
Suresh Navin Bhola, called `Rebel’, 37, of Lot 93 Strathspey was pronounced dead on arrival at the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPHC) shortly before 1 am yesterday. Bhola sustained a single stab wound to the abdomen. The incident, this newspaper learnt, was recorded by a security camera.
In a press release, the police said that they were investigating the matter. The incident, according to them, occurred at about 12.15 am. Six men, police further reported, have been arrested and are assisting with investigations.
Among the six persons in custody, relatives told Stabroek News yesterday, are an in-law of the deceased, a neighbour and a friend. The three men were reportedly having a few drinks at the bar when an argument started between Bhola and a man from another group.
This newspaper understands that three teenage girls, employees at the bar, were also taken into police custody for questioning.
When Stabroek News visited the Lot 93 home, Bhola’s widow, Sharmilla, sat among relatives lamenting. The woman told this newspaper that her husband was a carpenter and just before his death had been working in the Diamond New Housing Scheme, East Bank Deme-rara.
Sometime around 6.30 pm on Saturday, Sharmilla recalled, her husband returned home from work and left shortly after with her brother, a neighbour and a friend. The three men, according to her, went to the bar which is located “around the corner” from her house. “My brother here on vacation and he supposed to travel back tomorrow morning (today),” she said.
It was the last time Sharmilla saw her husband alive. Shortly after midnight, the woman recalled, she received a message telling her that Bhola had been stabbed. However, by the time she arrived at the scene Bhola had already been rushed to the GPHC.
Sharmilla immediately travelled to the city hospital and upon her arrival there was escorted into the Accident and Emergency Room. “They take me in a small room and show me he lying down on a bed but that was it, he de gone already. He de done dead,” the woman said.
Later, Sharmilla learnt from persons who arrived at the scene before her and who had been present around the bar area at the time of the incident that Bhola and others were involved in a scuffle with another group of men.
As a result of an argument, Sharmilla said, her husband and a man from the other group started to scuffle and the other men joined in the struggle as well. It was during the confusion that ensued, Sharmilla related, that her husband was stabbed with a large, shiny knife. There were several other men in the perpetrator’s group, she said.
Recording of fight
“They were drinking and they end up in a lil argument and the whole thing happen so fast…nobody don’t know exactly how the boring pass,” a resident, one of the first persons on the scene yesterday morning, said.
When she arrived at the scene, the woman said, the blood-covered knife was still on the ground. Someone, according to her, had already called the police.
“Rebel [Bhola] was on the ground crouch up and didn’t move at all. Like he was already lifeless,” she said.
At the time, Bhola’s relative, neighbour and the friend were struggling with the perpetrator, his two brothers and other members of their group. They were trying to prevent the men from escaping before the police arrived.
However, despite the men’s struggles the man who allegedly stabbed Bhola managed to escape, the woman said.
Police, she further said, did not arrive at the scene until 20 to 30 minutes after they had been informed of the incident. “We call the police since the big fighting de going on and still they ain’t bother come,” she said.
After Bhola was removed from the scene and rushed to the hospital, the woman further said, the owner of the bar started to wash the blood from the bar floor. “Now tell me something this got to be tampering this man tampering with a crime scene cause if he wash away all de evidence then what the police going to get,” she said.
She further noted that when police arrived at the scene they were able to apprehend the two brothers of the perpetrator and one of their friends. Police later took Kissoon, the neighbour and the bar owner into custody.
The bar owner, a relative of the deceased reported, initially told police that he knew nothing about what had happened in the bar between the men. However, after investigators reviewed the footage recorded by a security camera they discovered that the bar owner was standing in a position which would have enabled him to see the entire incident and he was also heard shouting out several phrases to the fighting men.
While a general unfolding of the argument and subsequent scuffle between the two groups was observed on the recording, the relative explained, it was not clear just who stabbed the deceased.
“After Rebel [Bhola] get stab it was a whole big session out here. The three brothers (the perpetrator and his siblings) and their friends had cutlass and sledge hammer and so on and was one big fight with them and Rebel friend them,” another resident told Stabroek News.
Men from both groups, the resident said, sustained minor injuries about the body and were also taken to GPHC for medical attention.
The bar, the resident said, has been operating at the Strathspey location for more than a year.
“Before this stabbing up that pass here a man get a bus’ head a night in there and is plenty more fight there”, the resident explained.
Many nights, the resident said, they and other persons living around the bar area were disturbed due to loud music and loud drunken men swearing at each other or fighting. “During the holiday season that gone by you could ah barely talk to anybody in you own house because they been playing the music so hard,” the resident said.
On these occasions calls were made to the Vigilance Police Station and policemen did visit the scene. However, the bar owner would turn the music down for a short period and then turn it up again after police had been gone for a while.
“You know how much time police go there and warn that man but still he continue doing the same thing,” the resident stated.
“… if the police had clamped down on it and all the confusion going on there so many nights every week then this deadly brawl could have been avoided. I travel here every three months or so for business and is always the same nonsense happening at this place,” a US-based resident told Stabroek News.