Bandits carted off an undisclosed amount of cash after they waylaid guards and broke into the Region Four Regional Democratic Council (RDC) office at Beterverwagting/Triumph, East Coast Demerara early yesterday morning.
The Guyana Police Force said the attack occurred around 2am yesterday when four men, armed with handguns, stormed the compound, tied up the guards and proceeded to torch two safes in the building, from where they carted off the cash. They also robbed one of the guards of cash and valuables.
Stabroek News was further told that the gunmen also entered the local government office but nothing was missing from that office.
When this newspaper visited the office just before noon yesterday, investigators were dusting for fingerprints as well as taking pictures of the crime scene.
Hasrat Mohammed, of Triumph, who was one of the two guards on duty, said the bandits cut open the fence and entered the compound.
He said when they went to his hut they were masked and were all armed with guns. “They tell me shut my mouth… don’t talk and to co-operate with them,” he said.
Mohammed noted that he complied with the instructions and allowed the men to tie him up behind the education building. He said his colleague was then brought to
the back approximately 10 minutes later and they were made to lie on their stomachs. They could not move or raise their heads, he added, as the gunman would hit them.
He further said that they were tied up for approximately two and a half hours. After they realised they were no longer being guarded, they moved closer to each other and freed themselves. He said they later went to the Beterverwagting Police Station and made a report around 5am.
Mohammed highlighted the fact that the guards had complained to the authorities at the RDC about the poor lighting in the compound and while they were told it would be looked into it, nothing was ever done.
He said the lights have been off for the past three to four months.
Mohammed added that he is considering quitting the job because of his experience and the dangers he faces.
The other guard that was on duty, Claude Punch, of Friendship, said he was in his guard hut at the front of the building when he heard a rapping. He explained when he opened the door, he saw three men with guns and he asked what the problem was but got no response. He said the men took him to the back of the education building, where Mohammed was and tied him up there. Punch stated at that time they were left guarded by one of the bandits, who told them to co-operate and they would not be harmed.
He noted that during the ordeal the men punched him to his face and relieved him of his cellular phone and $10,000.
When asked if he would return to work, he said he has not decided as yet but had informed his boss that he would need some time off. He pointed out that most of his injuries resulted from the position in which he was tied up.
Meanwhile, Pauline Lucas, Regional Executive Officer (REO), said that around 6am she received a call from one of the regional engineers, who informed her of the attack. She said the RDC could not assess the losses as yet but she believed that some of the cash from stolen safes belonged to Bladen Hall Primary. They money represented the proceeds from a fundraiser organised by the school’s Parent-Teacher Association. The safes were stored in the Accounts Department at the RDC building.