An East Coast Demerara pastor is counting his lucky stars after bandits attacked him yesterday on his return from the Cheddi Jagan International Airport.
Pastor Sewnauth Poonalall of the Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church was badly gun-butted and forced to seek medical attention at a private hospital after the traumatizing incident.
The Pastor said that he had gone to the Cheddi Jagan International Airport for some overseas guests and returned home with the luggage around 04:00hrs. His guests were planning to donate the contents of the suitcases to a local orphanage.
Poonalall is the husband of former Member of Parliament for the Alliance For Change, Latchmin Poonalall.
According to the Pastor, he came out of his Toyota Hilux Surf and opened the gates to the churchyard. He lives upstairs of the church.
He had just parked and was about to close the gates when he saw a young man, no more than 20, in the yard. There was a gun in his hand. The man motioned him to be quiet, struck him on his face with the gun and took away the keys to the vehicle.
The gunman attempted to open the tailgate of the vehicle but failed. Meanwhile, a car had reversed to Pastor Poonalall’s gate at great speed. In it were three other men, one of whom joined the bandit in the yard.
“There was another man with the gunman and he told him to kill me. I asked them if they wanted to kill someone in the church.”
The armed bandit hesitated and I walked to the side of the church to pray. The gunman then started to fetch out the three suitcases from the SUV. The guests who had just entered remained seated in the vehicle. The gunmen turned their attention to them and relieved them of their jewellery and everything that they had. “All they were left with were the clothes on their backs.”
“I stood at the side of the church and prayed as there was nothing much that could be done.”
Poonalall said there were others outside in the vehicle. They reversed into the yard taking the suitcases.
The Pastor said the gunman could not be more than 22 and had his hat pointed backwards.
It is not the first time that the Pastor had been robbed. A car load of gunmen had stopped his vehicle in the 90’s on the access road to Good Hope and robbed him. On another occasion a group robbed him as he was heading home.
His church was also broken into several times and equipment stolen.
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