Members of the family of a foreigner working in Guyana’s emerging oil sector are expected to leave the country following a home invasion and armed robbery on Wednesday that left them deeply traumatized.
Robert Albiez, the finance director at Guyana Shore Base Inc, which is providing onshore services to ExxonMobil, and his family were confronted by five men at their Republic Park home in the wee hours of Wednesday.
The ordeal occurred around 2.30 am when Albiez, his wife Catianna Albiez and their infant daughter were held at gunpoint by the masked bandits.
Two of the five men who invaded the home were armed with handguns and carted off a quantity of gold and diamond jewellery, local and foreign currencies, passports and several electronic items.
Stabroek News has since learnt that heavily traumatised family members are preparing to return to their home country.
A source close to the family said the property had a security guard five days prior to the robbery but the family had suspended the service. When Stabroek News visited the home yesterday, a guard from a private security firm was present.
The family only moved to the community a little over a month ago and believed that the alarm system on the house was effective security.
“Nobody told them it wasn’t effective, this community seemed like a safe place but now they are just scared…” a friend of the family told Stabroek News.
The family is also traumatised at the intensity of the demand for valuables. The bandits threatened to kill the couple’s daughter if they didn’t hand over the valuables.
On Wednesday morning, Robert Albiez was responding to the sound of the house alarm which he had activated before retiring to bed with his family.
“He (Albiez) was confronted by a male suspect who struck him on his head with an instrument. Soon after, the suspect was joined by his accomplices who held (the couple and their daughter at gunpoint), ransacked the house and escaped with the valuables”, a police press release said.
It is suspected that the men gained entry into the house, which is monitored by an alarm system, after prising open a door and cutting the padlock on the grill. They escaped through a glass door.
Meanwhile, a Colombian national, who is a friend of the family and asked for her name to be withheld said that as a foreigner in Guyana she and many of her friends do not feel safe in the country. She pointed out that on many occasions foreign nationals are robbed on the seawall and in the parks.
“You know Colombia they say is one of the most dangerous countries in the world but I feel safe there. I don’t feel safe in this country at all. We always have to be fearful…,” she said.
A resident living near to the robbed family who also asked for his name to be withheld, said when he heard the alarm he paid it no heed since alarms in the community would go off from time to time. He said he learnt the bandits eventually escaped through an alleyway.
The resident said that as a citizen of Guyana he is concerned over the crimes being committed on a daily basis.
The man added further that “every day we are hearing of these robberies. Young people are being accused of sticking up people on the road and robbing them. That is not good for any country that is looking at development.”
He called for the government to formulate a plan to address the situation. “The president is a security man and wrote on security but it seems like he has no plan to handle the crimes in this country,” the man said.
He also called for more police patrols in their community, which he believes can help to create a safer neighbourhood.
Following the robbery, police were alerted and combed the area but there was no trace of the bandits. No arrest has yet been made.