Police defend response time to chilling Maida robbery

The police yesterday sought to defend their response time to a chilling robbery on Sunday at Maida, Corentyne saying that reports of a slothful response was a fabrication aimed at achieving political mileage.

The victims had said that the determined bandits took almost one hour to enter the Lot 47-48 Maida Farm house, during which calls were made to the police who failed to respond until about half an hour after the bandits had left.

In a press release issued yesterday the police force said that it had observed that at least one political party has been “lying” on police ranks in various aspects of their operations, the most recent being in regard to an armed robbery committed on businessman Latchman Pooran of Maida Farm.

In this instance, the release said, members of the political party wrongfully claimed that the police took more than two and a half hours to respond to the report and then mobilized persons to picket the Whim Police Station and demanded that ranks be transferred from the station immediately. In fact the information on the slothful response by the police was a fabrication aimed at achieving political mileage, the release said.

The release went on to say that to the contrary, the victim himself has stated to reporters of the Kaieteur News that the police took less than half an hour to arrive on the scene and has publicly praised the work of the police whom he said worked under stressful circumstances.

“The Guyana Police Force is appealing to members of political parties not to use the Guyana Police Force for political mileage”, it said while adding that it wished to inform the public that it is making great efforts to improve the quality of service it provides and to gain public trust.

“However, it is incidents like these that cause one to question whether some organizations in our society would like to see a secure Guyana or not”, the release said.

The police said that it wishes to advise of its mature stance whenever it is being criticized. “Constructive criticisms are taken in good faith and necessary adjustments are being made to improve our services. It would however be remiss of us if we do not seek to clarify misleading information being peddled with the intent of achieving some ulterior objectives”, the release said.

Pooran a rice farmer told Stabroek News yesterday that the police took approximately half an hour to respond to his calls. He said when he made the first call the police did not hear him clearly and kept asking where the robbery was occurring. He returned a call and informed them that the robbery was taking place at Maida on a “blue-green house where the rice man lives” (explaining to police where he lives) and the officer on the line said they were sending police.

Additionally, he said that after the policemen arrived he came out from hiding, opened the gates and went to rescue his family where they spent another half hour trying to elicit a response from his wife and children. “The rooms are sealed and after they weren’t answering us I thought they were killed but [eventually] they heard us and opened up the doors”, he recalled.

Based on what Stabroek News had been told by residents and Pooran’s wife Noonwattie Pooran on the day of the robbery, the gang were at the house for about one and a half hour – they would have taken about an hour to gain entry and then spent an additional half an hour inside terrorizing the household.

However when contacted yesterday `B’ Division Commander Brian Joseph denied that they took over one and half hours to respond to the crime scene. Joseph told Stabroek News that officers attached to the Whim Police Station where on patrol at 02:45 hours when they were informed of the robbery. He explained they left their patrol destination that was approximately 12 miles away and responded to the robbery.

Noonwattie hours after the incident had recounted to reporters “I call police and holler for help but nobody! Nobody didn’t come.” Her husband had also said that after they weren’t receiving help from anyone, he called his son who lives at Auchlyne village and he made contact with the police as well.

Noonwattie recalled that they were awakened by unusual noises on their premises. “I heard the dogs bark, something break and a sound like a gunshot and I turned and wake up Anil. I tell he put on the camera [monitor for the surveillance cameras] and we saw four men coming up the stairs,” she recounted. The woman said that after they saw the men coming upstairs, she sounded an alarm.

Neighbours had said that they heard the first gunshot around 02:30 hours.

Meanwhile Pooran, has been discharged from hospital and has been placed on bed rest.

Pooran called “Anil” was injured after he jumped 10 feet off his front veranda and scaled a fence that is estimated to be seven feet high and topped by barb and razor wires to seek shelter after the bandits had shouted that they would kill him if he did not come out. It was during that time, he sustained injuries to his feet. He told Stabroek News that he cannot walk properly as his feet are weak and cannot support his weight.

The gang after their rampage carted off approximately $3 million and jewellery worth $1 million.

After being robbed several times before, Pooran had invested in outfitting his home with security cameras and other security measures.

Around the Web