CARICOM staffer shot, robbed after bank withdrawal

A gunman yesterday afternoon shot and robbed a senior CARICOM Secreta-riat employee after he left the Republic Bank (Guyana) Limited branch at Triumph, East Coast Demerara (ECD), in what is the most recent attack on the bank’s customers.

Police yesterday said Lionel Persaud, 59, a Deputy Programme Mana-ger at the CARICOM Sec-retariat, was admitted as a patient at a city hospital afterward.

Persaud was robbed at around 2.30 pm as he arrived in front of his home in Atlantic Gardens, ECD.

Commander of ‘C’ Division Edmond Cooper last night told Stabroek News that he had beefed up security in the vicinity of the bank due to frequent reports of customers being trailed from the bank and being robbed.

“We had set up patrols and road blocks and increased police presence but it seems as if they [bandits] managed to evade us,” Cooper said, before adding that the police would be going back to the drawing board and developing a new strategy to combat the situation.

Police said that upon arrival at his Atlantic Gardens home, a car approached Persaud from a northern direction and blocked his path.  A male occupant, police noted, immediately exited the rear side of the vehicle with a handgun and waved it at Persaud. The gunman then approached Persaud from the driver’s side of the vehicle and relieved him of a bag containing the $264,000 he had earlier withdrawn from the bank.

It was noted that the bandit shot Persaud in the upper right foot before rejoining the vehicle and escaping, the statement from police added.

Persaud was rushed to the hospital by a policeman. Investigators, upon visiting the scene, retrieved a spent shell. Police added that they are “currently making stringent efforts to trace the vehicle and apprehend the suspects.”

The attack was the second in two days where a bank customer was robbed. On Wednesday, 38-year-old electrical contractor Bisnauth Terry Chan was shot and robbed of $600,000 by two bandits, who reportedly trailed him from the bank before cornering him at his Enmore, ECD worksite. He sustained a single gunshot wound to his head, resulting in a fractured skull.

Cooper last night told Stabroek News that the police were reviewing surveillance footage in connection with the robbery.

Two Fridays ago, Cove and John fisherman Eddy Brandon was robbed of $7 million in cash just after visiting the bank branch.

Brandon had related to this newspaper that he was convinced that the robbery was aided by a bank employee.

However, the bank, through its Marketing and Communications Manager Michelle Johnson, had distanced itself from the claim that a bank employee was complicit in the robbery of Brandon, while stressing that it has an obligation to ensure that all those who utilise its services do so in a safe and secure environment. Police have not been able to arrest any suspects for the robberies.

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