The past few weeks of Eddy Brandon’s life have been marred by two tragic events—the first created by the death of his wife, the other, the loss of his life savings; scooped up by armed bandits in a matter of seconds.
The Cove and John man is just the latest victim in a chain of recent robberies, where customers appear to have been trailed from city banks after withdrawing large amounts of cash.
Brandon, 50, has worked as a fish vendor for the past 15 years, trading at Nabaclis, Golden Grove, and within his village. He is father to two children, ages 14 and 17, and until recently, was husband to their mother, and sole-bread winner of the family.
On Friday last, Brandon was attacked by two armed bandits while on his way home, after visiting an East Coast bank and withdrawing in excess of $7 million. In the process of the robbery, he was gun butted and shot in the leg. Brandon was in the company of his 17-year-old daughter at the time of the encounter.
It was reported that Brandon withdrew the money with intentions of purchasing material to build a house for his daughters. The still-grieving man buried his wife only last Sunday.
Brandon related yesterday that the house they currently occupy is owned by a relative. They live only in the bottom half, but he explained that when it rains, water enters the space, drenching the inside.
So when he was awarded a portion of land at Dochfour, ECD, he decided to invest in his own property. He planned to purchase the material, and as soon as the rains eased, he would have work begin on the 20×30 house he had envisioned.
On February 9, the day of the robbery, Brandon, along with his older daughter, Analisa, visited Republic Bank (Guyana) Limited at Triumph, on the East Coast of Demerara.
According to the man, his intention had been to withdraw money from his now deceased’s wife’s bank account and transfer the sum to their joint account.
He presented all the documents he thought necessary, but was informed by the teller that he needed a letter from an attorney in order to complete the transaction.
“So I said to them that I have a joint account with my wife and me at this same bank and I would like to take out her name and put in my daughter name…” Brandon stated, relating that he was directed to take a number and wait in another section.
After waiting about 45 minutes however, Brandon changed his mind.
He said that with the bank giving him a “hard time”, he decided to withdraw all of the money, to secure the amount needed for his house, lest he should be subject to any difficulties with the bank again at a later date.
“So I went back to the teller and I said I would like to withdraw all the cash that is in the joint account and close the book…so he ask me,“wah you gon do with this money?” I seh the place that I’m living is not my place, when rain fall the whole place ah soak, even the bed ah wet. So I’m gonna start to build my house, so I would like to withdraw the money,” Brandon explained.
Once again, he waited for the better part of an hour, before the teller finally returned with the cash. He was asked if he had a “big bag” to put the money in, but all he had at the time was a yellow envelope.
“…so I full in all the $5,000 note in this bag [envelope] and it was well full, to the brim. Can’t close,” he recounted. Shortly afterwards, Brandon and his daughter left the bank.
“So me nah know who deh in the bank watching, but when I was coming out of the bank, one of the security seh “fishman.” Me seh arite, and meh walk out…and meh stand pon the road and meh stand up deh for nearly 10 to 15 minutes with the money in meh hand and nothing happen,” he said, relating that a bus would eventually pull up, and they would enter the vehicle.
“I ain see nobody round this vehicle…but when ah reach at Cove and John and ah come out the bus, when ah exit the bus, and ah stand up pon the road, ah saw a silver-grey car driving very slow coming and these guys ah watch meh…so the guy them go and they turn back halfway pon the bridge. So when meh see them turn back halfway pon the bridge…me seh this nah look too nice, this is a setup. So I run over the road,” Brandon further recalled.
“When I run over the road and I run through the alleyway, them come and they block me in the alleyway and them seh, “Pass over the money! Pass the money!” So me hold onto the money and seh, “No man, aya cyan tek me money! Aya cyan tek me money!” And they fire three shot in the air. I ain even know I geh shot pon meh foot. Well the bag ain full with money? So the money start fall out on the ground and they scrambling and they took away the bag…and the other guy telling [him]… “Shoot the man in he head! Shoot he in he head and kill he man! Kill the man!” So he tek the back of the gun and he lash me in meh head and blood start flow down in meh eye….” He recollected.
With all factors considered, Brandon believes that his robbers were tipped off by a bank employee.
“So it appears to me…that information was leading out from the bank that this man ah go up to Cove and John and aya track he down. Because I was standing on the road for nearly 10 to 15 minutes and nobody came…” Brandon theorized, opining that the men would have found him regardless, as they were likely supplied with inside information.
“…me nah tell nobody— none of ma relative, ma friend, that I going to the bank. I ain tell not a soul, because I ain go with an intention fuh draw no money. Just the lil bit. And even duh meh nah go fuh draw, just put it over in meh joint account…Me nah know how me mind me change fuh draw out…” he stated.
Brandon said that there is the possibility that he will be pursuing legal action against the bank, as he noted that this is not the first time that something of this nature has occurred.
Crime Chief Paul Williams told Stabroek News last evening that there are no leads on the matter.