Accused tax evader feared dead after plunging into M’cony River
- flees police station, rank opens fire
Relatives of a sports promoter, with assistance from the police, will resume the search for his body in the Mahaicony River, where he plunged after a daring escape from the area’s Police Station.
Godwin Maxwell, 31, of Calcutta, Mahaicony, was being held in the station after he was placed on bail by Magistrate Haymant Ramdhani on tax evasion charges, when for some strange reason he tried to secure his freedom.
Eyewitnesses stated that Maxwell who was not placed in the lock-ups while awaiting the posting of the bail by his relatives, ran out of the station and headed towards the old Mahaicony bridge and plunged into the river with a police rank in hot pursuit.
The rank opened fire as Maxwell entered the water even as the Magistrate shouted for him not to shoot.
It is not clear if Maxwell was hit but hours later his body was still not recovered despite frantic efforts by relatives who launched a search over a large section of the river.
No one could say why Maxwell, a father of two, took the drastic step, especially since relatives were in the process of posting his bail.
Speaking with this newspaper last evening, his uncle Wilbert James related that Maxwell would normally promote sporting activities in his community and he encountered problems with the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) with regards to the remittance of taxes.
According to James, Maxwell was ignorant of this obligation until officials of the GRA contacted him. James said that the GRA had promised to send its representatives to monitor the shows that Maxwell organized, but they never did.
“He didn’t know what was going on, he didn’t know anything. He didn’t know that he had to complete forms and send into GRA,” James explained.
He said that about two weeks ago, Maxwell received a summons from the GRA. Maxwell and James immediately travelled to the city and met with GRA officials with a view to negotiating an amicable settlement.
“They gave us some forms to full up, they tell us what and what to do. He was in the process of doing that, but three days ago they told him he had to attend court,” James told this newspaper.
James said that yesterday was the first time that Maxwell had any encounter with the court.
Yesterday, Maxwell attended court and was represented by attorney at law Leslie Sobers.
He reportedly pleaded guilty to the 10 charges imposed against him, but his attorney in his explanation to the court on behalf of his client, prompted the Magistrate to enter a not guilty plea and granted bail in the sum of $40,000 on each charge.
James said that while relatives were making arrangements to secure the bail, he went to Magistrate Ramdhani’s office hoping to have the bail reduced.
It was then that Maxwell made his dash for freedom.
“While talking to the Magistrate, I hear they hollering a man jump overboard.
When me and the Magistrate look through the window, same time we see a policeman lift he gun, firing. So de Magistrate holler and tell them, leh dem don’t shoot. ‘Man, don’t shoot de man’,” James related to this newspaper.
He could not say if the shot that was fired had hit Maxwell but he explained that Maxwell went under the surface of the water and was not seen again.
“Since that gun fire off, we ain’t see him” James said.
Delbert Hope, a fisherman, was sitting in a boat in the river when he saw Maxwell jump overboard.
“They had a brown clothes police, he come and fire a shot at de man and de man ain’t come up. When he fire de shot, de man (Maxwell) duck after he fire de shot, he shout fuh a big gun but when it come, he didn’t fire no more shots, “ Hope told this newspaper.
The incident occurred just before midday, but it was not until several hours later that the police using a boat combed a section of the Mahaicony River for the man’s body.
Relatives themselves, using hooks also combed the river, but they too were unsuccessful.
Maxwell’s reputed wife, Patrice Downer said that she was not at the scene but she heard that her husband had jumped into the river.
“Is he and GRA. They say every time he promote a sport they gone send dey people fuh watch over. They never send nobody. Then dey send a summons,” the mother of Maxwell’s two children told this newspaper.