– another injured
By Melissa Johnson (with additional reporting by Samuel Whyte)
WELLINGTON PARK, CORENTYNE – What was intended to be an early Monday morning robbery at the home of a businessman at Wellington Park, Corentyne, has left one person dead and another hospitalised.
Dead is 47-year-old Arjune Gobin, a security guard attached to Nand Persaud and Company Limited of Number Thirty-six Village, on the Corentyne. He was shot in the head and pronounced dead on arrival at the Port Mourant Hospital.
A bullet grazed his employer, 46-year-old Rajendra Persaud of Number Thirty-six Village in the head. He was subsequently taken to the New Amsterdam Hospital and is now a patient at a private hospital in Georgetown.
Rajendra Persaud, in PKK 3482, was rushing to his sister’s assistance after gunmen had invaded their home about two miles away at Wellington Park about 01:45 hours yesterday.
The security guard had apparently accompanied him in another vehicle and met his end. When the bandits saw the vehicles approaching they immediately opened fire on the occupants of the vehicles.
At a glance, the Ganesh family said that the bandits left empty handed. Even if something was stolen it has not yet been missed or is of little value. At the time of the robbery, Vasantie Ganesh, her son, 20-year old Vivekanand Ganesh and her 14-year old daughter, Venia Ganesh, were at home. Her husband had left home just after 01:00 hour and was scheduled to depart Guyana on a 06:00 hours flight to New York yesterday.
Remarkably, none of the Ganesh family members were injured in what appeared to be a rampage by the bandits who discharged rounds to different sections of the house, used a sledge hammer and smashed a hole on the concrete wall on the southern side where the gas station is housed and broke windows as they tried desperately to gain entry.
The bandits had ample time to commit the act since the nearest police station is several villages away at Whim.
The family members were able to slip into a section of the home where the bandits could not reach them despite all efforts. The interior of the four-bedroom home which is heavily secured was ransacked, particularly the bedrooms.
The inner stairway alongside the damaged wall and other sections of the home were covered in sand and what remained of the concrete blocks used to construct the building. Shattered glass was scattered mainly to the southern side of the home.
The son, Vivekanand Ganesh, recalled that he had already retired for the night. He said that he was aroused from his slumber by a constant pounding. “I get up and went outside (of the room) to see what was going on, then I heard the gun shots, a lot of them. I couldn’t count them. I went down on the floor and crawl and went somewhere…to a room and I hid. I was afraid. I was thinking about my little sister.”
The wife, 43-year-old Vasantie Ganesh was startled by what sounded like an explosion about 01:45 hours. “When I get up I couldn’t believe it was a gun shot, then seconds later the second shot. The third shot hit a window and after they trying and they ain’t getting in then is when they start use the sledge hammer and start working on my daughter’s window but they couldn’t get in because of the iron grill.
“They couldn’t cut the grill. So they move away from her room and start breaking the wall next to my daughter room by the living room….They take about half hour or so breaking the concrete all the time. When they get the hole in the wall, they fire shots to the roof to scare we and one of the bullets go straight through to the front bedroom on the other side of the house and left a bullet hole.”
Dozens of holes, different sizes were visible on the roof of the living room. “Me ain’t see nothing…me ain’t see the bandits…we just hear the shots. The children them did not scream, they just co-operate and start help me call. Me call me two brothers, and me husband and then me call back me husband. They (bandits) ain’t get nothing. They ransack the whole house.”
Vasantie Ganesh’s brother, Rajendra Persaud responded to her telephone call almost immediately. “I hear me brother honk he horn but I wasn’t sure. Then I hear they (bandits) fire shots and then I ain’t know what happen. A while after when everything finish I hear me brother come rap on the door and tell me everything okay. When we open me see he whole skin in blood.
“The police come in the same time with he. He get shoot somewhere in he head.”
She explained that she spoke to her brother before he was taken to the hospital. “When he see that we secure then they carry he to the hospital. Apparently after they (her brother’s employees) hear what happen they take a next vehicle and drive behind me brother.
They woulda just drive pass the house to see what going on but as soon as the bandits see the vehicle, they start shoot and they shoot the security guard boy in the vehicle on the road. Me ain’t see nothing…me ain’t see the bandits…we just hear the shots. Me brother get shoot in he vehicle”
She is not certain who summoned the police but suggested that her husband’s cousins across the road or her brothers may have done so.
Surendra Ganesh, owner of Ganesh Service Station which is situated between his home and his NPG Packaging and Plastic Limited business on the Wellington Park Public Road, left home about 01:00 hours en route to the Cheddi Jagan International Airport Timehri to embark on his journey overseas.
The 50-year old businessman said he was already at Rising Sun on the West Coast of Berbice when he learnt what was happening at his home, “I tell the taxi turn back. When I came everything finish, police was here.”
The man blamed the incompetence of the judicial system for the lawlessness that is taking place in Guyana as he contemplated the manner in which the bandits penetrated his fortress. “A criminal break into yuh house, pay the lawyer plenty money to defend him, get put on a couple ah thousand dollar bail and he back on the street again. He gone again.”
He said the ranks of Division ‘B’ of the Guyana Police Force did a commendable job, but, “It is left to see how good a job they did…it’s left to see the results of the work they did today. The Commander is here right now.”
At Bloomfield Village, relatives and friends of Arjune Gobin gathered to offer support to his wife and children. He began working at Nand Persaud and Company Limited two Saturdays ago and was delighted.
“He was working at a fowl farm at Bloomfield then he decided to go to Nand Persaud. He was a very good father, everything about him was nice.” said his 24-year old daughter Ambeak Gobin.
For several months he was in poor health but recovered, “He left home about 5 o’clock (17:00 hours) on Saturday for 6 o’clock work. He was smiling as he was going through the gate. He had on a black shirt; I can’t remember what colour pants he had on. That was the last time I saw him alive.”
In the wee hours of Monday morning a car pulled up in front of their home, “My uncle from across the road come out after the car blowing and talk to them, then he tell my mother dress my father is not well.”
Forty-five-year old Jenney Gobin left home with the vehicle and was taken to the Port Mourant Hospital, unaware that her husband was already dead.
It all seems surreal to Mrs. Gobin. “He get on he cap and he had a hole straight here (forehead). Me want clean he skin. Me want clean out the blood from he skin and take off them nasty clothes from he, just clean he up.”
She said he was the lone breadwinner in the family and is survived by four children, including a son residing overseas. The youngest is 11 years old.
Commander of Division ‘B’ of the Guyana Police Force, Assistant Commissioner Steve Merai said no arrests have been made but based on information received, the bandits escaped on foot using the bush to the rear (south) of the premises.
Police recovered a quantity of nine mm spent shells and 12 gauge cartridges. According to the Commander, some $5,500 was stolen from the Ganesh’s home.
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