Blind Society still wants permanent armed guards

The presence of police patrols within the environs of the headquarters of the Guyana Society for the Blind has brought some level of comfort, but members are calling for more frequent patrols, and at the same time, for permanent armed guards for the institution.

Last week Tuesday night, bandits stormed the building located on the St. Philip’s Green at High Street, Werk-en-Rust, Georgetown, and attacked several residents before carting off a laptop computer.

Residents told Stabroek News that they are still terrified as a result of the attack, which was carried out around 10 pm by four men, one of whom was armed with a gun.

Cecil Morris, President of the Guyana Society for the Blind said that since the robbery they have seen police visiting the facility, but not as frequently as he would have wished. He explained that since the patrol came into play, the police visited during day on Friday and Monday. No visit was made over the weekend, Morris pointed out.

Police Commander of ‘A’ Division, Marlon Chapman told Stabroek News that in light of the robbery, he has instructed the patrols to carry out frequent checks at the institution during the day and night.

Lavena Powlett, a member of the society told this newspaper that whenever the police visit they would stop and identify themselves before leaving the area.

“We welcome this and we are happy they are trying to help by providing security, but this does not mean we don’t need permanent security guards,” Powlett said while adding that “with a guard here permanently, we would not have to be afraid. We would be able to go back to our normal lives.”

She also stated that some members are still traumatized from the events of that night. “When we hear of a robbery everything just flashes back to that night,” she stated, and issued a call for counselling for the members. She said that members get frantic at times whenever the door opens.

“Not everybody is able to be strong to put that night past them. With counselling I think members would be able to be more comfortable,” she opined, and called on the Ministry of Social Protection to listen to their concerns.

The society has been considering  approaching the Ministry of Social Protection for a larger subvention to cover the cost of hiring a private security company to provide armed guard services.

Morris explained to this newspaper that since the robbery no official from the Ministry of Social Protection has met with them to address their security concerns.

Three residents, Musa Haynes, Selwin Jacobs and Anthony Robinson, were outside picking up their clothing when the bandits pounced on them.

The three members were bundled into the building, where they were told to lie on the floor with the others, as the bandits ran their hands through their pockets in search of valuables.

“If the importance of security for us was at 90 percent a week ago, today it is about 180 percent more important because of what happened the other night. We don’t have much valuables but we still need to be protected,” Morris related, as he spoke on the importance of security at the institution.

“We need an armed guard here. We need to feel safe like any other member of society. We need to be able to have the door open and get fresh air and not keeping it closed and make ourselves inmates,” he stressed.

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