An Agricola, East Bank Demerara woman and her family are still awaiting answers from the Guyana Police Force on whether it will bear responsibility for her being wounded during a shootout between lawmen and two bandits.
It has been over two and a half months since Parmadai (only name), of 124 Caesar Street, Agricola, was shot and police initiated an internal investigation to determine whether she was hit by the police or the bandits. Both her family and residents of the area say it was the lawmen who were firing wildly during the encounter.
On July 11, Parmadai was in her hammock at home resting when she was shot twice; one bullet struck her in the buttocks and another struck her left hand. She was rushed to the Diamond Diagnostic Centre, were she was treated before being transferred to a private hospital for medical attention.
When Stabroek News visited the Office of Professional Responsib-ility, an investigator said that they were not authorised to speak to the media and contact should be made with the Commissioner of Police or the police force’s Public Relations Department. However, this newspaper was unable to get any information from the police on the status of the investigation.
The woman’s daughter, Elietha Heeralall, told Stabroek News last Friday that the family hasn’t heard from the investigators since they took a statement from her mother. She noted that the statement was taken a few days after the shooting.
Heeralall said when she made contact with one of the investigators, he told her that they were still investigating.
“Nobody is checking up on her… they came, took a statement and that was it, we never see them return to find out how she was doing,” the daughter said.
According to her, since the shooting, her mother, who is a seamstress, has not been able to take on any work as she cannot sit for too long.
“Mommy used to be active, always up and about but since she got shot she hasn’t been herself. Anytime she moves about, the injuries begin to swell and she experiences pain… It is not easy to look at her,” Heeralall said.
She added that her family has also spent more than half a million dollars on medical care. She noted that the figure does not include the over-the-counter drugs and transportation costs every time her mother has to go to the doctor for a checkup.
The daughter is calling on the Commissioner of Police David Ramnarine to intervene and have the investigations completed and give her family answers.
Following the shooting, the police force had said in a statement that ranks went to Fourth Street, Agricola and were confronted by two armed men; one had a sawn-off shotgun and the other had a handgun. As the police ranks approached the suspects, they “opened fire on the lawmen who adopted tactical positions and returned fire; during the exchange, the suspect with the shotgun was injured.”
Parmadai’s husband, Heeralall Gopie, had said shots were fired through his premises after the suspects used his yard as an escape route.
He went on to say that the police were blaming a bandit for shooting the woman, while everyone else said it was the police who shot her and that they could identify the officer.
According to the man, during the exchange of gunshots, bullets hit a galvanised sheet on his shed and a post that was holding up the shed. He noted that shots were fired continuously as they tried to put his wife into a vehicle to transport her for medical attention.