Mourning the death of a relative, a Planters Hall, East Coast Demerara family was brutalised and robbed by three armed bandits early yesterday morning.
Budram Manie, Rohit Persaud and four others – including three children – were attacked at their home in this quiet village by bandits around 1:30 am. According to Manie, his mother had died the day before [Saturday] and one of his cousins visited him to offer his condolences.
“We went in the yard for like two hours just sitting and talking and the gate was opened because he [his cousin] car was parked outside and nothing don’t really happen here so we didn’t have a reason to close the gate or even be on the lookout for anything,” he said.
Just before the three gunmen invaded the yard and held them all at gunpoint, Mannie and Persaud explained that they saw three men walking with torchlights on the dam at the side of the yard but they were not alarmed since it was customary for persons to be out that late. “We didn’t think about it because people would be out looking for alligators to catch late, late so it wasn’t unusual,” Manie said.
He pointed out that after the children retired to bed, he, Persaud and his cousin, were sitting outside when the three gunmen invaded the yard and held them at gunpoint.
“We didn’t see them cause they had the two bus in the yard but all of a sudden a tall fine one come out from the side and point a gun at me head and seh don’t look in he face or he gon shoot and so I go flat on the ground,” Manie said, while stating that swiftly after, two others appeared and did the same to Persaud and his cousin.
“When I was going down on the ground he put two lash in my head with the gun and kept telling me don’t make any noise or he gon shoot me,” the still-emotionally distraught Manie said. While beating Manie, two other persons rushed out and started beating Persaud and the other man. “They lash me all over in my head and to my face and watch how my head still bruised up,” Persaud lamented.
According to Manie, the gunmen then forced the trio to crawl into the house ensuring that they could not see their faces. “They carried my cousin and Persaud to the room and that’s where they found the children them,” he said.
He added that while the men took Persaud and his cousin into the room and tried to tie them up, another one took him upstairs where he continued to beat him and demanded cash. “He ask me is who house and I say is mine and then he take me upstairs and kept lashing me in my head and asking for money. I keep telling he we ain’t got anymore and he keep lashing me and beating me and telling me that he gonna shoot me if I don’t give he,” Manie said. He explained that he was able to find just over $200,000 in cash and gave the man who kept demanding more.
“Even after I give he the money I find he kept beating me and demanding more. He said he woulda bring the children up and torture them if I don’t give he more. I told him `brother, I ain’t got anymore’ and he shout on me and tell me `don’t call me brother’ and that he would shoot me and that how I got two bus so I should got nuff money around the place,” Manie said. He said that the man finally got tired after ransacking his room and not finding any more money. He said that the gunman ripped the phone wires from the wall and tied him up. “When he finish with me he run downstairs and call the other two and they run out the yard and get away,” Manie said.
Manie said that while they had him upstairs searching for money, another one of the men beat his 16-year-old daughter and demanded money from her too. The girl explained to Stabroek News that one of the men took her to the bathroom and started to slap her. “He kept slapping me and thought I was daddy’s wife and kept asking me for money,” she said.
Persaud also explained that while they were tying him up in the room they continued beating him and demanded cash too. While Persaud did not have any cash on him they were able to get about $40,000 from his cousin.
Manie explained that he was able to untie himself about five minutes after and ran downstairs and freed the others. They subsequently rushed outside and flagged down a police vehicle passing by. “One of the officers told us they would’ve gone on patrol and for us to go to the police station [Mahaicony Police Station] and we went there and then went to the hospital for a medical,” he said.
Manie said that the police finally showed up around 3 PM yesterday to do their investigation.
“They come and brush for fingerprints and stuff but that was it. Everyone is still traumatized and the children are still scared,” he said. Manie noted that he has been living there for 49 years and this is the first time that something of the sort has happened. “I can’t even remember when last something like this even happened around here, especially to me,” he said.
In addition to the money, the men also escaped with five cellular phones. “Watch how just like that people without masks or anything could walk into your yard and beat and rob you,” Manie said, stating that persons around the village are now scared and on edge. He pointed out that one of the neighbours said that they had seen three strange cars parked in the area several hours before.
“People are definitely scared now. Not only in this village but all the surrounding villages cause nothing don’t happen like this here. Everyone lives peaceful here and nobody does trouble each other,” a resident of the village declared. The man pointed out that since the spate of robberies on the East Coast persons have started to close their businesses earlier.
“They haven’t happened close to here but persons are not going to wait for them to come. By 6 [PM] almost everywhere closed. People shutting their houses tight and not even coming out for anything and could you give them wrong? People are scared,” he said.