– says driver of abducted passengers
The next time he’s taking passengers to the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, taxi driver Parmanand Teekaram says he will not stop if a policeman flags him down.
“I will not stop unless I know the policeman. Honest to God, I will not stop, especially if is near Timehri, and anybody who stands in front of my car will be in trouble.”
Teekaram says he made this decision after two armed men, who he insists were in police uniforms, abducted him and passengers Latchmin and Lekraj Gopaul two Saturdays ago, while they were heading to the Airport.
The gunmen took millions in cash and jewelry from the Gopauls, while Teekaram was relieved of $60,000 and two mobile phones.
Police are questioning two men in connection with the robbery and Gopaul is certain that he can identify the men who carried out the attack.
What the taxi driver says he remembers clearly is that the robbers were wearing ‘clean police clothes’, and that they had contemplated killing him and the Gopauls.
Giving further details of his ordeal, Teekaram said he was in the vicinity of Land of Canaan, at around 11.00 hrs last week Saturday, when two men in police uniforms signaled for him to stop.
He said that one of the men had a handgun and was dressed in blue police attire, while the other carried a ‘long gun’ and wore the clothing of a ‘black clothes’ rank.
The taxi driver alleged that the ‘policemen’ said that they had received a report that a car similar to his was involved in a hit-and-run accident near Garden of Eden.
Teekaram allowed the ‘policemen’ to check his car. The ‘ranks then told him they were taking him to the Madewini Police Station. He recalled that he was forced to sit between the two policemen in the front seat as one of them took the wheel.
Teekaram said that initially, he had no clue that he was about to be abducted.
“The men move clean; me ain’t had a clue. At the point where they stop we, nine out of ten times they does got police there.”
The taxi driver said that he only became apprehensive when, rather than stopping at the Madewini Station, the ‘policemen’ headed up the Soesdyke/Linden Highway.
Teekaram said he was so certain that they were about to be robbed that he attempted to stop the vehicle by touching the gearstick and putting the vehicle in neutral.
However, one of the policemen realised what he was doing and remarked: “Like you trying a thing.”
When the men reached Yarrowkabra, Teekaram said that he saw a blue car near the abandoned glass factory, and one of the ‘policemen’ told his colleague to follow the vehicle.
On reaching the glass factory, the men and their captives exited the vehicle. After relieving him of his money and documents, the men allegedly took Teekaram into a clump of bushes and tied his hands.
The driver said he later learnt that Mr. Gopaul had attempted to wrest a firearm from one of the men. According to Teekaram, the robbers had then spoken about killing their victims. Instead, they tied up the Gopauls and emptied their suitcases before leaving.
Teekaram said that a couple in a car passed in the area and set them free and contacted the police.
Police have now set up 24-hour patrols along the airport route.
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