Category Archives: Crime

CANU detains businessman in connection with narco submarine

Drug agents from the Customs Anti Narcotics Unit (CANU) have detained a popular Waini River businessman as they intensify their probe into the discovery of a semi-submersible vessel in the Guyana jungle two weeks ago.
The man Michael D’Anrade, who operates a large grocery and general store in the Waini River area, was removed from his home by CANU agents last Friday night before being transported to the city on Saturday for questioning.
The local drug agents are hoping that the businessman would be able to provide them with information about the owners of the vessel, which they believe is linked to the illegal drugs trade.

Attorney at law Glen Hanoman waits patiently outside the CANU headquarters on Saturday night to see his client.

From all indications, the businessman has already gone though some intense interrogation although he has repeatedly denied any link to the vessel or the persons who are associated for it.
After initially being denied access to a lawyer, D’Anrade was eventually allowed a brief conversation with attorney at law Glen Hanoman yesterday.
Danrade, according to reports, had telephoned his wife on Saturday and instructed her to contact Hanoman, who he requested to meet him at the CANU headquarters where he was being held.
On Saturday, night this newspaper was outside the CANU Headquarters on Homestretch Avenue when Hanoman turned up and was denied access to his client.
A man who claimed that he was just a security guard at the gate, kept the attorney waiting for more than 30 minutes while he sought instructions from his superiors on whether or not to allow Hanoman in.
He eventually came back and stated that D’Anrade was not at the location, but changed his tune when Hanoman insisted that the businessman had telephone his wife from CANU headquarters a few hours earlier.
The guard then told the attorney that he had received strict instructions not to allow him to see the client and advised that he returns on Monday since it was already late in the evening.
When he was asked by the lawyer who issued the instructions, the guard replied that the US Embassy had issued the order. With that, the attorney smiled and walked away.
CANU is reportedly being assisted in their probe of the narco sub by the United States of America’s Drug Enforcement Agency.
Yesterday, Hanoman was eventually allowed a brief audience with D’Anrade, but was rudely interrupted while he was receiving instructions from his client.
“I have not had any effective communication with him. CANU believes that they are doing me and my client a favour by allowing me to see him,” the attorney stated.
According to Hanoman, D’Anrade owns the largest grocery and general store in the Waini area and is a major supplier to persons operating there. D’Anrade’s store is located several miles from where the narco sub was discovered.
“He managed to tell me that they (CANU agents) went to him and asked him if he knows anything about the sub. He told them that he had dealt with some people who told him that they were building a boat several miles from his location,” the attorney told this newspaper yesterday.
Kaieteur News understands that the businessman had sold supplies in the form of ration to the persons.
“It was only when the CANU people took him to where the boat was discovered that he knew what was taking place,” Hanoman said.
The Self Propelled Semi-Submersible (SPSS) was more than likely built at the camp site in Waini River, North West District, Region One.
Following the discovery of the vessel CANU had said that based on intelligence from an ongoing investigation, a number of its officials along with Guyana Defence Force Special Forces, Coast Guard and Air Corps, conducted an operation along the Waini River in the North West District.
During a search of one of the creeks branching off from the Waini, a blue vessel, later identified as a SPSS, was discovered about two miles in, along with a camp consisting of three structures – including accommodation, workshop area and generator.
The accommodation area had the capacity to house approximately 12 persons. There was also a kitchen located within the accommodation. The workshop consisted of pulleys, power tools, paint, and several fiber glass materials.  Based on the items present, it is evident that this area was used to build the SPSS found in the creek, CANU said.
The vessel was already fitted with a diesel engine and steering wheel, navigation and other machinery to deem it serviceable.  There was no contraband on board the SPSS, CANU said.
“Investigations are ongoing along with discussions with foreign counterparts as it
relates to information sharing and assistance.”
The discovery of the vessel would strengthen what has been known all along…that Guyana is a trans-shipment point for cocaine and other illegal substances.
It would also point to how well organized the drug network is.

Chinese restaurant murder…Cameras record gunman killing waitress

A young man wearing a black and red cap fires a gun through the bars of the counter where cashier/ waitress Debbie Blackman stands.
The first bullet, reportedly from a 9mm pistol, strikes the attractive, 48–year-old mother of five on the shoulder.  Wounded and terrified, Blackman runs towards a door that would lead her further into the restaurant. It’s locked.
The gunman shifts his position to get a better view of his target. He fires again… and again. A bullet pierces Blackman’s throat, and she slumps to the ground. The gunman and three accomplices calmly leave.

Deborah Blackman

This is the chilling scene that police sources said they witnessed on a security camera, which recorded the final seconds in the life of Deborah Blackman, who was shot dead at around 19.30 hrs last Saturday in the Chinese Delicious Restaurant.
Police said that the footage they saw gave no indication that the gunman had attempted to rob the restaurant.  This has led to questions as to whether the killing stemmed from a motive other than robbery.
The recording has also given police a look at the unmasked man who killed Blackman, as well as two other men who appear to be his accomplices. Police recovered two warheads and a bullet casing from the scene. The restaurant was shut tight when Kaieteur News returned to the scene yesterday.
Kaieteur News viewed part of the footage, which showed a man in a black cap, with red peak, going up to the counter and apparently making a purchase. Two other men then come to the counter, and one of them gives Blackman a $5,000 note. The footage shows the apparently nervous men constantly glancing around.
According to police sources, Blackman, of Critchlow Circle, Tucville, placed a box of food on the counter, which is barred off from the dining area.  Sources who viewed the footage say that the men walked out of the restaurant, but then the one wearing the cap returned to the counter and shot Blackman.
A police release stated that two men on a motor cycle drove up to the Delicious Chinese Restaurant on Durban Street, Georgetown, and the pillion rider entered the restaurant.
“He ordered and paid for a meal after which he pulled out a firearm and shot the cashier Debra Blackman to her shoulder and neck and escaped on the motor cycle.”
Blackman was pronounced dead on arrival at the GPHC, the release said.
Latoya Blackman, one of the slain woman’s daughters, said that her mother left for work at around 10.30 hrs on Saturday and was scheduled to work until the following day. She said that a woman who was at a salon in D’urban Street informed the family of the shooting.
The daughter said that when she arrived, a crowd had gathered but she managed to enter the restaurant, where she saw her mother lying in a pool of blood.
Relatives claimed that the owners of the restaurant took several minutes before they opened the restaurant for the police, and Blackman’s body was left for some three hours at the scene.
Kaieteur News was told that Blackman had been working at the restaurant, located between Halley and Hardina Streets, for some eleven years.
According to a relative, bandits had attacked the restaurant last March. A daughter said that the bandits had kicked open a door leading to the counter and robbed Blackman and the restaurant owners.
The relative said that the proprietors would leave the door behind the counter open to allow Blackman to secure herself in the event of future attacks, but that the door was locked on Saturday night when the killers struck.
A daughter said that after the robbery in March, her mother had expressed concern for her safety and had planned to leave her job and start her own business.

Ramotar now says board will deal with NCN irregularities

-chairman had said he was waiting on President

Following a series of unfulfilled promises to reveal what action he would take against officials implicated in financial irregularities at the state broadcaster NCN, Presi-dent Donald Ramotar on Saturday stated that NCN’s Board would deal with the matter but since 2012 the Board had said it was awaiting his pronouncement on it.

Asked about the matter at a news conference at State House, Ramotar said that all the time he was labouring under the impression that the report was not made public but he understood that it was on the Government Informa-tion Agency (GINA) website for a long time until the website was hacked. He said that the report is back up again and added that an announcement on some of the issues will be made later.

It was pointed out to the President by Stabroek News that he was asked and he had promised to reveal what actions he had or would take against those implicated in the multi-million dollar financial scandal. The president responded that NCN has a Board and there are certain functions that a Board will have so “let’s first of all deal with it at the level of the Board before and let me look at that and see what will happen.”

When it was pointed out to him that the Board would have investigated the matter and had sent him a report, the president responded: “No, the Board had sent the report to me. All the Board (did) was sent a report to me. They didn’t make any recommendation and so forth.”

In December 2012, the then Chairman of the NCN Board of Directors Prem Misir, had told Stabroek News that the closure report on the financial irregularities at the state-owned broadcaster was with Ramotar, who was yet to offer his advice. “The President has been in and out… I think he just returned from Peru although I can’t say for sure but I sent him the report and it’s on his desk,” Misir told Stabroek News at the time. “The reason the President is involved is technically because he is the Minister of Information [and] so he got the closure report. He agreed to look at it expeditiously,” he had said. “I think [Programme Manager Martin] Goolsarran’s unpaid leave is still happening, that has not changed. The President has to make that decision,” Misir added. Goolsarran is no longer with NCN.

Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr Roger Luncheon in November 2012 had also announced at his post-cabinet briefing that the board had completed its probe and that the results were with Ramotar. Luncheon at that time acknowledged that he had seen the report but refused to disclose whether there were any recommendations for dismissals. “The board has concluded their investigation (and) there is a report that has been submitted to the Minister of Information, the president recognizing some interim steps and additional recommendations. The Office of the President is yet to pronounce definitively on that matter”, he said.

Responding to a question on whether there were recommendations made by the Board about dismissals, he said “There are a number of recommendations made by the Board about current employees. I am not at liberty right now to disclose what those are but I can undertake to ensure that the Office of the President and Minister of Information, (make it) public knowledge at an appropriate time.”

 

In a way

Last month, Ramotar acknowledged that he has taken a long time to reveal whether he took any action against officials implicated in the financial irregularities NCN and said that a lot of the issues “in a way” have been resolved.

He had spoken at length about his administration’s efforts to fight corruption and when it was pointed out that it has been two years since NCN officials who have close ties to the PPP were implicated in the financial scandal at the state broadcaster, the President agreed that it has been a long time. However, he said, “a lot of the issues in a way has been resolved, the CEO is not there…they have not been there but we’ll get to that I promise you.”

The President was asked about the issue at prior news conferences but despite promises, he has not revealed what action he will take against officials implicated in the financial scandal. At a news conference on June 7, he again had no answers when asked about the issue. “I have nothing new to report on that. I really was preoccupied with many other things at this point in time. I’m sorry, next time hopefully I’ll be in a better position,” the president said.

“I wasn’t prepared for that question at this point in time but I’ll probably look into it and see if I can give you an answer after…,” the President said in March. In April 2013, he had said that he would make his decision known “very soon.”

Last April, Luncheon said that government has concerns about the recommendations made by the auditor who uncovered the financial irregularities at NCN. “I think the review of what the auditor submitted as recommendations… and his specific Terms of Reference [ToR] continue to be a source of some concern by the administration… I for one feel that he overstepped his bounds, went beyond his ToR in the recommendations that had been made and more than likely that has stultified any action on those recommendations,” Luncheon had told a news briefing.

“I would want to believe that the matter would have died, but it obviously has not died and actually I suspect that there may well be some imminent interventions, revelations that would bring this matter again to the fore,” he had said.

Harry Parmesar, the auditor who uncovered the financial irregularities at NCN subsequently told Stabroek News that he was never contacted about any concerns that the government might have had about his findings.

Former NCN Programme Manager Goolsarran and NCN’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mohammed ‘Fuzzy’ Sattaur were implicated in the scandal. Critics have said the reason why there has been no action is that the two persons at the centre of the probe have close ties to the ruling party. Analysts see the case as a litmus test of whether the government is serious about accountability and financial probity in the state sector.

The duo had allegedly pressured employees to backdate invoices, Goolsarran had deposited millions of dollars in his personal bank account and among other things, the report said, a number of functions of other staff/departments were usurped by Sattaur and Goolsarran. Both Sattaur and Goolsarran had declined to speak when contacted by Stabroek News.

Customs Officers trade bullets with heavily-armed chicken smugglers at Mahaicony

Four officers of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA)’s Law Enforcement and Investigation Division (LIED) came under heavy gunfire from smugglers, around 23:25hrs on Wednesday, when they intercepted a shipment of imported chicken.

Gunmen riddled the GRA Officers’ car with bullets.

The incident which occurred at Dundee, Mahaicony, East Coast Demerara, saw the GRA officers being forced to seek cover by hiding in nearby yards to avoid death or serious injury from bullets fired from an AK-47 assault rifle.
However, the 10-minute barrage resulted in slight injury to one of the officers, while a resident, Yogeshwar Singh, was grazed by a bullet as he peered through his window to see what was taking place.
Reports reaching this newspaper stated that the GRA officers, who were conducting a surveillance exercise based on intelligence received, had intercepted three mini buses containing 150 boxes of chicken for which no customs papers could be produced, along with a car driven by the son of a notorious smuggler.
According to a statement from the GRA, the officers had taken possession of the keys for the vehicles and the cell phones of the occupants were seized, when the notorious smuggler himself and three accomplices pulled up in a grey Toyota Allion motor vehicle. The men exited and opened fire in the direction of the LEID officials.
“The officers were forced to retreat and take cover, while the detainees escaped in several waiting motor vehicles. When the dust settled, the motor vehicle used by LEID officials to conduct the exercise was badly damaged after being riddled with bullets, as well as two of the detained mini buses. One officer who was not so fortunate was injured about the body with pellets allegedly fired from a shot gun,” the GRA stated.
Speaking with this newspaper one of the officers recalled seeing the smuggler, who is well known, shortly after they had intercepted the vehicles. However he sped away when he realized that they were GRA officers.
According to the GRA officer, a few minutes later the man returned with three other men who began firing bullets at them.
“A man come out de car fuss with a gun and was bare shots. He say ‘ah gon kill alyuh sk#@t.’ Then I see about two other men come out and start firing too. We try to fire back but it was too much for us,” the officer told Kaieteur News.
The officers were forced to preserve their safety when they realized that their weapons were no match for the smugglers.
But according to the officer, the smuggler and his gunmen appeared determined to kill them.
“After we run and hide, these men come looking fuh we. Is like dey really come fuh kill, because was not one or two shots. Normally people would scare you with a couple shots, but these men come with heavy artillery,” the GRA officer explained.
Even after the shooting died down the terrified GRA officers remained in hiding, and it was only after ranks of a police mobile arrived on the scene that they felt safe to come out.

Some of the boxes of smuggled chicken that were eventually seized by the GRA officers.

The shooting also terrorized nearby residents, some of whom fled their homes in fear; thinking that bandits were attacking their community.
A shopkeeper who lived nearby recalled seeing men traversing through a nearby street shortly before the shooting and this made him very suspicious. At the time he did not know that the men were GRA officers who were on a stakeout for the smugglers and his first thought was that bandits were about to strike.
“We see they had guns with them and they were moving in and out of the street and then they hold up all the men dem in the bus with the chicken…we thought was some hold up with somebody,” the shopkeeper said.
He told this newspaper that shortly after a Toyota Allion with licence plate (number provided) pulled up and the occupants exchanged harsh words with the men who had held up the mini buses. It was the notorious smuggler who apparently threatened the GRA in order to get them to abandon their assignment. But when he did not succeed he sped away only to return a few minutes later with three other men with machine guns.
“About ten minutes after de man in de car come back with gunmen and dey fire shots and puncture de Customs men car…Yeah, a lot ah bullets fire man…big gun…a man with a bullet-proof vest,” the shopkeeper said.
He stated that as the gunshots continued to pierce the silence of the night, he and his family took to the floor.
“This last bout five to eight minutes…men running, dogs barking, men firing back and dem gunmen firing. When de shooting done, not too long after de police turn up and when de men who de run and hide come out, den I see is Custom people…We been peeping through we window,” the shopkeeper said.
Another neighbour said that when the shooting started she grabbed her daughter and ran out of her house towards the back of her yard where she sought refuge at her neighbour.
“When we hear de shots I call me husband out and we get scared and get away by de neighbour. We nah get time to look to see anything. We nah know if is thief or wha. We only come back home till about one o’clock when it was very quiet,” the woman said.
She said that she later learnt that her neighbour on the opposite side of the road, Yogeshwar Singh, was hit by a bullet. The wounded man, who was treated at a nearby hospital and sent away, declined to speak with media operatives yesterday. However, his wife said that he got up to investigate the source of the shooting when he was hit by one of the bullets.
“When he get the shot he get blackout and I grab the children and run to the back room. Was a lot of shots and it could’a be worse. This is the first time I ever experience such thing and I hope it would be the last. It was very scary, knowing that you have your kids and this thing happen,” the injured man’s wife told the media.
She said that they too waited until the shooting had died down before coming out of their bedrooms.
Police recovered twenty nine 7.62 spent shells and two warheads, one of which was lodged in Singh’s house.
Up to last night they had not arrested any of the gunmen or the notorious smuggler.
Meanwhile Commissioner-General Khurshid Sattaur has expressed grave concern at the length to which persons are willing to go to ply their illegal trade, defraud the government of revenues and endanger the lives of consumers with smuggled goods. He said that he is heartened by the commitment of his officers to duty, even in the face of danger to life and limb.
“I commend the officials of LEID for so ably carrying out their duty in spite of the many challenges,” Mr. Sattaur said.
He noted that GRA will continue to play its role and take a strong stance against such nefarious activities and criminal elements.

Attorney seeks separate trial for corporal charged over station diary

A separate trial is being sought for the police corporal jointly charged with Cadet Officer Franz Paul with attempting to pervert the course of justice in the April 30, Alex Griffith shooting.

Sandil Kissoon, attorney for Corporal Baichand Singh, yesterday urged the court to hear his client’s case separate from Paul’s. He said that the joint hearing will unconsciously influence Singh’s matter, which he described as independent and relating only to evidence in a station diary. He further suggested that the case be sent to the Chief Magistrate for re-assignment.

Franz Paul

In addition to the joint charge he faces with Singh, Paul is charged with discharging a loaded firearm at the 15-year-old Griffith with intent to maim, disfigure or cause bodily harm, to which he pleaded not guilty.

He was also charged with inflicting grievous bodily harm and unlawful assault and pleaded not guilty to those charges as well.

Baichand Singh

At the time of the incident, Paul was said to have been personally investigating a robbery committed on his sister. Griffith, who the police believed was a witness to the robbery, was picked up for questioning.

Griffith had told Stabroek News that he had been at a friend’s home when a robbery occurred outside. Though he had been unable to see what had transpired, he said, two van-loads of policemen later went to his East La Penitence Squatting area home to question him about the identities of the robbers.

He said he told the ranks that he was unaware of the robbers’ identities but was still taken from his home, placed in one of the vehicles and driven around the area. He said the vehicle eventually stopped in front of the home of one of the suspected robbers in the East La Penitence area.

However, the person was not at home. He alleged that Paul forced him from the police vehicle and ordered him to lie on the ground, where in an effort to glean information, he played Russian roulette.

Griffith was shot in the mouth and subsequently dropped off at the hospital by the ranks who left shortly afterwards.

Paul had been denied bail on two of the charges, but this was later granted in the High Court.

Singh is also on bail.

The case will continue on July 21, when the prosecution is expected to reply to the application.

Charlestown teen jailed for 56 months for armed robbery

Charlestown teen, Ron Collins was yesterday sentenced to 56 months imprisonment after pleaded guilty to armed robbery.

Collins had first ap-peared before Chief Magis-trate Priya Sewnarine-Beharry where he pleaded not guilty

Ron Collins

to robbing Holly Culpepper of $166,000 in items which were recovered on his person by police ranks. The matter was then transferred to Court Three where Collins changed his plea to guilty before Magistrate Judy Latchman.

According to the magistrate, the sentence was given after the court took into consideration the seriousness of the offence, the fact that Collins is only 19 as well as the fact that the young man worked as a plumber. However, Magistrate Latchman also noted that the court considered the fact that there has been an increase in armed robberies.

Imposing sentence, the magistrate said she hopes Collins will follow a straighter path in life.

Collins,19, of Lot 6 Ketley Street, Charlestown was first charged on April 7, after he was accused of robbing Culpepper at knife point of her BlackBerry cellular phone, Guess shades, handbag and cash. It was related to the court that Culpepper was walking out of Ramroop’s Furniture Store when she felt someone tugging on her bag. When she looked behind her, she saw Collins holding her handbag in his right hand, while in his left hand he held a knife. She immediately released the bag but as Collins attempted to escape on his bicycle, police ranks from Eve Leary, who were in a bus and had seen the robbery, opened the bus door on Collins causing him to fall. The items were recovered and Collins was taken to Ruimveldt Police station where he was arrested.

Investigation into Lusignan teen slaying still ‘active’ – Crime Chief

Police are still to make an arrest in the murder of Lusignan teenager Ashmini Harriram and according to Crime Chief Leslie James it is “an active investigation”.

Updating the media last evening James said “we are working with what we have at the moment…we will always investigate thoroughly.”

Asked if it was a robbery, he said they are investigating the initial report they received. The initial

Relatives and mourers at the funeral service for 18-year-old Ashmini Harriram who was shot dead last Thursday shortly after her $15,000 cell phone was snatched from her hand. The service was held at her home following which she was cremated at Good Hope. Seated in this photo are her mother Khemwattie Samaroo and her two sisters.

report was that the gunman first snatched Harriram’s cellular phone before shooting her in the head.

According to James, as information becomes available to the police, they will investigate.

The 18-year-old cosmetologist was close to her Lusignan Railway Embankment, East Coast Demerara home when she was shot.

Her cousin Fiona Samaroo, who was with her at the time, said they were walking along the roadway when a man exited a car with a gun, walked straight up to Harriram and grabbed the phone and shot her. Samaroo said she was unclear how many other persons were in the car as she only saw the gunman, who was holding a “small gun.” She said she was so shocked that she didn’t pay much attention to the man or the car as it drove off.

She said after Harriram was shot she was bleeding so much that she was unable to determine which part of her face the bullet had struck.

An eyewitness had recounted that as the two young woman were walking on the roadway, a burgundy car drove pass and stopped a short distance away. As they approached the vehicle a man came out of the front passenger side and walked straight up the teen. The eyewitness said the man snatched the phone Harriram was holding to her ear before walking back to the car. However, he turned back took three steps, placed a gun under her chin and pulled the trigger.

Relatives have since told this newspaper that while it is unclear what the motive was, they knew she had no problems with anyone which could have resulted in such a cruel death.

Billion-dollar lab set for crime fight

After years of serial unsolved crimes, the investigative capacity of law enforcement is expected to be boosted with the opening of the long-awaited Guyana Forensic Science Laboratory.

The Guyana Forensic Science Laboratory

The $1.049 billion project which was funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) was commissioned yesterday and in addition to conducting a broad range of tests, a section of the sprawling 12, 000-ft complex will be used as a training ground for science students of the University of Guyana.

The IDB has been approached about the inclusion of DNA testing at the facility.

Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee in his address to the sizeable gathering thanked the University for providing the land on which the building has been constructed. He said that of critical importance was the credibility of the lab, the evidence it produced and the fact that it needed to be built on neutral ground. It was through negotiation that the government, he said, managed to secure a section of the Turkeyen campus.

He said that the university “was able to negotiate that the lab be used as a training ground for young scientists in the field of forensics.” He said that there is a special section located within the building for these students.

He added that qualified staffing and under whose supervision the facility should fall were issues of concern. Rohee stated that it was later decided that the lab would fall under the supervision of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The minister stated that the lab will aim to use scientific techniques in solving crimes “that we have not seen in the history of crime solving in our country before.” He added that the use of these techniques is all part of a system in keeping with international best practices.

Rohee assured that the lab will not be another white elephant. He said that they have also discussed the question of the clientele of the laboratory in order to formulate a business plan to ensure that at every stage of its development it is active and “taking business in order to drive its professionalism.” The lab, he stressed is expected “to be a revenue stream for the government of Guyana” adding that the various scientific tests will be offered to clients locally and at a later stage internationally.

He said the facility is outfitted with “state-of-the-art” equipment including highly specialized systems which will keep track of all evidence submitted for analysis.

A section of the interior of the lab. (GINA photo)

He said that the lab will specialize in testing toxic substances, narcotic drugs, pharmaceutical drugs, alcohol, forged documents and biological fluids. He said that based on a mandate given by the president and the cabinet the ministry has been tasked with working to introduce some elements of laboratory DNA testing at the facility.

Rohee said that in the years to come what would be of critical importance is the adherence to international standards. He said that Guyana has now joined the family of forensic labs in the Caribbean, adding that steps have already been taken to establish contact with laboratories around the world in order to facilitate the exchange of experiences, information and training of the staff.

He described the commissioning as “a proud moment.”

The construction of the lab falls under the Citizens Security Programme (CSP). The programme coordinator Anil Ramnath in giving an overview of the project stated that the ground floor houses the administrative offices, library and research area, conference room, security monitoring, evidence submission room and washroom. The top flat, he explained, accommodates four departments: chemistry, toxicology, document and evidence trace. These, departments he went onto explain, had six laboratories and evidence rooms.

Sophie Makonnen, the country representative of the IDB in her remarks said the collaboration between the Government of Guyana and the IDB started three years ago. She said that one of the findings of that milestone collaboration was the limited capacity of the police to hear complaints and for the court to successfully prosecute cases.

She said that the lack of appropriate and effective handling as well as processing and analysis of evidence was one main weakness in the successful prosecution of cases.

Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr Roger Luncheon said in his feature address that the construction of the lab is further evidence of national development coming out of the 2006-2011 period when former president Bharrat Jagdeo held office. He said that this national institution can generate interest on the local and international scenes.

The building was constructed by Courtney Benn Construction Company. Trinidad-based firm Western Scientific installed the forensic equipment.

Senior members of the disciplined services including acting police commissioner Seelall Persaud and Crime Chief Leslie James and Fire Chief Marlon Gentle, Chancellor of the University of Guyana Jacob Opadeyi and officials of the Diplomatic Community were also in attendance.

Five BK workers charged with theft

Five employees who were accused of stealing over $1 million in spare parts from BK International were released on bail yesterday after a charge of larceny was read to them in the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.

Represented by Attor-ney Paul Fung-A-Fat, Tyron Ghani, Trevor Collette, Sanjay Ramjet, Kirk Innis and Wole Archer appeared before Magistrate Faith McGusty. They were not required to plead to the indictable charge.

It is alleged that between June 6 and July 12 in Georgetown, the employees stole one Mack Truck computer box valued at $1.2 million.

Fung-A-Fat asked that the Administration of Justice Act be applied because he believed that the court was equipped enough to deal with the matter.

However, this was rejected by Prosecutor Seon Blackman,

Tyron Ghani

who indicated that there are more charges to be filed against the men pending an ongoing investigation into the theft of items amounting to $40 million.

In his application for bail, Fung-A-Fat outlined that there was no evidence to support the allegations made against his clients. According to him, his clients who were held since Friday were not subjected to an ID parade and they all had unblemished records as employees of the company.

Kirk Innis

Blackman opposed Fung-A-Fat’s application positing that an ID parade was not necessary and suggesting that there was a risk of the men fleeing if released on bail. He also referred to the value of the items as another ground to be considered for the refusal of bail; the nature of the crime and the punishment the crime attracts. He then argued that if bail is granted, it should be of a substantial amount.

Wole Archer

The employees were consequently granted bail in the sum of $250,000 each and are required to report to CID headquarters every Monday.

It was related to the court that the men have been employed by the company for a substantial amount of time.

Fung-A-Fat, listing the particulars of his clients said that Ghani, 20, of 712 Tuschen, an excavator operator, has worked for the company for the past six years. Collette, 30, of Parfaite Harmonie, who is married with two children, is a mechanic and has worked for the company for over 12 years. Another mechanic, Ramjet, 23, of Canal Number 2 Polder, who has a wife and a baby, has been with the company for four years. Archer, 41, with a wife and numerous children and of 34 Public Road, Friendship is also a mechanic and has been working with the company for two years. Lastly, Kirk Innis, 32, of Canvas City, Wismar, Linden has been working as a driver for six months.

The men will return to court on August 4 for the filing of statements.

Trevor Collette

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sanjay Ramjet

 

 

 

Armed bandit shot dead on Sheriff St

An Agricola youth was yesterday shot dead moments after he snatched a bag of money from a licensed firearm holder who was at the time making a purchase at Ramchand Auto Spares on Sheriff Street.

Kevin Fields

The relatives of Kevin Fields, 21, of Titus Street identified his remains at the Lyken’s Funeral Home around 4 pm. Stabroek News later visited the East Bank Demerara community but when his relatives were approached, they opted not to comment.

The money and a .32 Taurus revolver with five matching rounds that Fields was reportedly armed with were found near his body. His accomplice who was on a CG motorcycle managed to elude capture. Crime Chief Leslie James said last evening that ranks were still looking for that person.

Police later said in a press release that at around 12:00 hrs a businessman went to Ramchand Auto Spares to transact business, “when a man armed with a firearm entered and took away a bag containing $1.7M.”

The release said that the armed man then ran outside and towards a motorcycle that was being ridden by an accomplice, pursued by the businessman. The armed man discharged a round and the businessman, who is a licensed firearm holder, returned fire hitting the armed man to his neck.

His accomplice managed to escape, the release said, adding that in addition to the money bag and the weapon, police also recovered a spent shell from the scene.

Many curious persons who gathered to get a glimpse of the bloody corpse which was sprawled at the side of Sheriff Street, a few metres from the Duncan Street intersection, applauded the businessman for his bravery.

Kevin Fields posed with piles of money, a bank card, a paper with the words firearm licence printed at the top, a can of Red Bull and a Heineken bottle on his Facebook page.

Stabroek News was told that a short while earlier, the man had transacted business at a city bank. Thereafter he proceeded to the Sheriff Street establishment in a taxi. It is suspected that the man was trailed from the bank. Police have often urged businesspersons to desist from moving around with large amounts of cash and to use bank cards instead.

Eyewitnesses recalled seeing the bandit running out of the store with the businessman in hot pursuit. In the vicinity of Duncan Street, he jumped onto a waiting CG motorcycle but it appears as though when it pulled off he fell off. One eyewitness told the media that it was this point that the bandit discharged a round at the businessman who then pulled a gun from his waist and discharged a single bullet which struck the bandit.

A man who was working in the area at the time recalled hearing a gunshot followed by a few seconds of silence then another gunshot. He said that when he investigated he saw a man lying on the roadway with a silver coloured gun nearby. He said that he then saw a man who he later learnt had been robbed by the shot man jump into a silver grey motorcar which took off at top speed. The car was headed south on Sheriff Street.

The man said that he later learnt that the man who had boarded the car was in pursuit of the dead man’s accomplice but he did not find him. He said that police arrived on the scene about ten minutes after the shooting had occurred.

Owner of the auto spares store, Ramchand Ragbeer told reporters at the scene that the businessman, who is a regular customer, went to make a purchase. He recalled that he was sitting in his office while the man was being tended to when he heard someone shouting “thief”. Based on what this newspaper gathered it was the customer who was shouting.

Ragbeer said that shortly after that the customer started running behind a man who by then had snatched the grey coloured bag he had. He said that they both ran out of the store and he later leant that the bandit jumped onto a waiting motorcycle.

Kevin Fields

Ragbeer said that he has surveillance cameras at his business. The footage could be of importance to investigators. He said that previously a customer was robbed at the store but on that occasion no firearm was involved.

Asked for his reaction to the incident, the businessman said that it highlights the need for a police presence in the area especially at the Duncan Street/Sheriff Street intersection and a camera on the traffic light. “That [the camera] would have helped. I think this would have given a better image if they had a camera.”

He said that he is happy that the licensed firearm holder was able to defend himself.

Persons who knew Fields personally told this newspaper that he was a known troublemaker. They said that although his relatives urged him to change his ways, he still continued.

On his Facebook page there were numerous photographs with him posing with large sums of money. In one of the photographs he appeared to be lying on a bed. Near him were several piles of money, a bank card, a paper with the words firearm licence printed at the top, a can of Red Bull and a Heineken bottle. Another showed him wearing a large gold chain

He last updated his page on July 8.