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Updated: Crime-weary Corentyne residents block road, confront police over banditry

Residents at Number 48 Village Corentyne block road to protest upsurge in crime and possible police involvement

Tensions among residents at Number 48 Village, Corentyne boiled over Sunday night because they said a police patrol refused to stop and take action shortly after a second armed robbery in the area that fits the same pattern.

Police said they persuaded the residents to remove the trucks and clear the roadway.

“Divisional Commander Assistant Commissioner Brian Joseph and other ranks have managed to persuade the residents to remove the trucks and other materials that were blocking the roadway and traffic is flowing freely,” police force spokesman, Ivelaw Whittaker said in a statement.

He said the situation was being monitored by the police as the investigations into the armed robbery continued.

Eyewitnesses said hundreds of residents blocked the road and prevented the police car from leaving the area. At one stage, they attempted to set the police car alight.

Several policemen were on the scene seeking to cool tempers and secure safe passage of the car out of the volatile area.

Sunday night’s incident stemmed from an armed robbery at Lalman’s grocery shop where Lalman Ramdeen, 66 years, and his wife Vimlawattie Ramdeen, 62 were held at gunpoint by four men. The bandits carted off a large number of phone cards, GUY$1 million worth of jewellery and cash.

Residents said the robbery fitted the same pattern as one in a nearby village less than seven days ago:– four bandits, they fired shotguns, they collected the empty cartridge casings, did not injure the robber victims.

“We want justice because this is the second robbery because everybody suspect it’s the police. They are targeting people who are working hard. It’s not right,” a resident told Demerara Waves Online News on condition of anonymity.

According to enraged residents, the white patrol car did not stop although residents called out to them. Instead, they went some where else and collected four persons before returning to the robbery scene.

The villagers were adamant that if the patrol had rendered assistance immediately, the bandits would have been intercepted.

Residents accused the police of either being directly involved or colluding with the bandits to commit the robberies. Police later corroborated the villagers’ claims.

“Ranks of a mobile police anti-crime patrol in a white police motor car with flashing lights and which can be clearly identified as a police vehicle responded to the report received. Upon reaching the village and as the ranks arrived at the scene, residents began to claim that the police were involved in the robbery as they had seen a white car earlier travelling in a suspicious manner,” said the police force in its statement.

Two days ago, residents alleged that policemen used a civilian car to go on a robbery in a nearby village.

However, a senior police officer in the Berbice Division explained that ranks used a policeman’s car to respond to a report of a robbery because none of the patrol vehicles was immediately available.