Following weeks of
incessant crime, Crime
Chief Henry Greene yesterday promised Berbice
businessmen to shake up the Police's 'B' Division by
transferring and removing some officers at the Rose
Hall Outpost and increasing roadblocks in the
Greene's promise came
during a meeting he and other 'B' Division top brass held with
members of the Central Corentyne Chambers of Commerce (CCCC),
who have publicly chided the police over the wave of armed
robberies of citizens and businesses and their poor handling of
the situation, among other things.
Greene also undertook to
have individual complaints investigated and acted upon
Armed robberies have
soared in Berbice over the past three months with at least one
robbery a day (see other story on this page).
According to a statement
from the CCCC, at its statutory meeting held on February 24,
members expressed anger and frustration to Regional Chairman
Kumkarran Ramdass at the "seemingly impotent responses by
the Berbice police to control the numerous armed robberies that
are taking place" in the county.
The chairman was told
that it was totally unacceptable and inexcusable to receive the
well-worn excuse of only "one policeman at the
station" in spite of the fact that the government was
making more and more resources available to the police. The CCCC
cited a recent armed robbery where the perpetrators spent over
45 minutes at the victims' premises. People called the police
and they were told there was only one rank at the Albion station
and at Rose Hall Outpost. The statement said members were also
quite upset that the Rose Hall Outpost was not maintaining
regular police patrols in view of the rising number of armed
robberies being committed in the town and in Central Corentyne
in recent weeks.
The CCCC said it was
pacifying residents who were once again threatening to take
protest action. Previous action several years ago had culminated
in a deadly protest and the storming of a police station.
At the meeting of
February 24, Ramdass promised the CCCC that he would get
Commander of 'B' Division Ivelaw Whittaker to meet its members;
yesterday he succeeded in getting Greene and other top brass of
Yesterday's meeting was
held at the Lion's Den in Hampshire, Corentyne. The CCCC
statement said members had open and frank discussions with Green
and the other officers. Among the issues raised were: the lack
of police response to reports of crimes in progress; lack of
civility and professionalism in the force; unavailability of
police officers and police vehicles; general inaction by the
members in investigating reports made and a host of other
Greene, according to the
statement, was surprised at the number of CCCC members who were
victims of armed robberies; one of them had been robbed four
times in the last 18 months. He promised that there would be an
upgrade of the Rose Hall Police Outpost, which includes staff
and equipment, increased mobile police patrols with constant
supervision, Aberdeen patrols, foot patrols in the Rose Hall
area during specified hours, transfer and removal of certain
police ranks and increased roadblocks.
Apart from the spiralling
robberies in Region Six (East Berbice Corentyne), the crime
spree has also included murders and armed pirate attacks on
January 11, three armed bandits robbed Belvedere Inn Hotel
and Bar located at Independence Avenue, Rose Hall. The bandits
had confronted and stuck up the watchman of the business and
forced him to lie face down. They then broke into the building
and carted off one stereo set, two amplifiers and other articles
January 24, armed bandits struck twice robbing two
businesses. In one of the robberies, three bandits - two armed
with handguns - robbed Deonarine
Bipta of Islington East Bank Berbice of over $50,000
in cash and jewellery.
next day three bandits - all armed with handguns -
robbed a grocery and variety store at Adelphi Settlement East
Canje Berbice. Businessman Papas
Sanichar and his wife were in the lower flat of their
house when the bandits entered from the top floor and robbed
them. The robbers carted away an undisclosed sum of cash from a
drawer and the family's cellular phone. The bandits also beat
the family before making good their escape.
that same week, six masked bandits terrorised and
robbed Berbice businessman Shaheed
Baksh of over $100,000 in cash and jewellery. Baksh,
of Number 19 Village, Corentyne his wife and a male relative
were sitting outside the shop when the bandits entered.
As recent as February 9,
bandits were busy robbing two businesses, including the Ainlim
New Amsterdam's office where over $1M in cash and bank cheques
were stolen. The day before five of them stormed a Lancaster,
Corentyne poultry farm grabbing chickens and robbing two
watchmen of over $2,300. The police said the bandits confronted
and tied up the two watchmen Bishram and Patrick Peters and
robbed them of $2,260 and $180 respectively.
Then a cutlass-toting
bandit was shot by police that same week in New Amsterdam
after he and another man challenged two constables at the New
Amsterdam market. Last week Wednesday a Corriverton couple was
robbed by three armed bandits of US$1,500, Cdn$700 and around
$100,000. The bandits had invaded their liquor bar.
Earlier that day a cattle
farmer in the area was also robbed of $20,000 and a quantity of
jewellery by a lone armed bandit.
Then last Friday police
exchanged gunfire with armed robbers during a botched robbery
near the Rose Hall Market.
Two men with handguns had
held up Robin
Prasad, a jeweller of Rose Hall and took away a bag
of jewellery. During a high-speed chase between the bandits and
the police, the robbers dropped the bag and fled.