Basdeo Mangra, 52, of North Vryheid’s Lust, East Coast Demerara died on Monday—a short while after a confrontation with a minibus conductor over loud music being played in the vehicle.
The conductor, who is alleged to have threatened Mangra with an ice-pick, is now in custody, police said yesterday.
The confrontation between Mangra and the conductor took place at about 5.45pm on Monday afternoon, as the man and his wife, Anita, were travelling to George-town in a route 44 minibus.
Police, in a statement, said that the volume of the music was affecting Mangra’s wife and he asked the minibus conductor to turn it down. This request was made several times but to no avail as the conductor and the driver refused to lower the volume, police noted.
“An argument later developed between Mangra and the conductor who was at the time armed with an ice-pick and a scuffle between the two men ensued in the vehicle,” the police added, while noting that at this stage the driver stopped the vehicle in the vicinity of Kitty, ordered Mangra and his wife out and then drove away.
The couple was later in another minibus en route to the West Demerara when Mangra complained of feeling unwell. He was subsequently rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
Crime Chief Seelall Persaud said that police are awaiting a post-mortem examination—due to be performed on Friday—which will determine how the man died. He said that during the altercation with the conductor, the man was hit a number of times.
He said it was unclear if the man might have been stabbed with the ice-pick during the scuffle.
Anita Mangra, the dead man’s wife, said the ice-pick did not appear to have any blood.
She said that she and her husband were heading to a wake for her brother, who died after falling off a Canter last week. She said her husband complained about the music because the driver missed the stop for a passenger at Sugrim Singh Road, ending up instead at the University of Guyana road, which is four corners away. “My husband started to shout at the conductor to stop at the corner where the woman had asked him to and he started to curse back my husband after he asked him to turn down the music,” Anita said.
She added that after the driver ignored her husband’s complaints, a heated argument ensued between the two men, which resulted in the conductor pulling out an ice-pick. “After he pull out the ice-picker, me husband tell he ‘You stab me, you go right ahead and do it.’ So, in fear, I scream at the driver for him to stop the bus and part the fight,” she added.
At the junction of the Russian Embassy in Kitty, both she and Mangra were asked by the driver to leave the bus.
The distraught woman said that later, while they were in a Route 32 minibus bound for Goed Fortuin, Mangra started to complain about dizziness. When they reached Eccles, he complained about feeling hot, so she put some water on his face. He then started to lean on his right side and when she raised his head, he began panting for breath.
Anita said that when her husband lost consciousness, the driver of the bus immediately rushed him to the Georgetown Hospital. “While we were taking him to the hospital, I held on to him and he made two hiccups as if he was taking his last breath,” she said.
Mangra, who sold canaries, was described as a loving husband and dedicated father. He and his wife were married for 27 years and shared five children.
Although the laws were amended in 2008 to prohibit the playing of music in minibuses plying routes for public transportation and hire cars, there has been no major enforcement by police.