President David Granger yesterday convened a meeting of the National Security Committee to address issues relating to crime and security.
A Ministry of the Presidency release stated that the meeting was also held to review the security sector’s 2017 performance and to plan programmes for 2018.
It is unclear whether the meeting was held to address the recent spate of brazen robberies that occurred last year, and which seem to have escalated since the new year broke.
The robberies have been compounded by several carjackings and, after a lull, attacks on persons leaving commercial banks. Acting Police Commissioner David Ramnarine recently stated that the Force had recorded an eleven percent decrease in serious crimes such as murder and robbery under arms in 2017.
But he had also expressed concern for what he described as a “worrisome” rise in carjackings. There were 47 recorded carjackings in 2017. In contrast, in 2015 there were 41 cases, and 36 in 2016. Of the 47 cars stolen last year, 16 were Toyota Premio, and eight were Toyota Allion.”
In recent weeks, police have also had to contend almost daily with several robberies. Attacks by persons on motorcycles were among these. On Tuesday, gunmen robbed a female dental surgeon at Eccles, East Bank Demerara, and a pensioner at Mittelholzer Street, Festival City. Debra Skeete, a 49-year-old dental surgeon, was held at gunpoint outside her Eccles, East Bank Demerara home. She had just left the Republic Bank branch, located on the public road at Diamond, East Bank Demerara. The gunmen, who were on a motorcycle, robbed her of 60 Pounds Sterling, $25,000 in local currency, which were in a shoulder bag containing an iPhone, a Samsung Galaxy phone, Republic Bank and GBTI cards, and national identification and NIS cards.
Dr. Skeete went to the Republic Bank at around 10:45 hrs. She deposited $25,000 in the ATM, then drove to Bounty Supermarket, located on the public road at Grove, East Bank Demerara.
Dr. Skeete then drove to her home located on the East Bank. She had just parked when two men on a motorcycle rode up to her. One of the robbers drew a handgun, opened the car door and snatched the bag. He then escaped on the motorcycle with his accomplice.
Then, at around 13.45 hrs, a gunman on a motorbike struck in similar fashion at Mittelholzer Street, Festival City, robbing Whitfield Wright, 74, of $527,000 in his yard.
Police said that Wright had withdrawn the cash from a Scotiabank branch. He then drove to his Festival City home, and had entered his yard when a man, who was riding a motorcycle, held him at gunpoint and relieved him of an envelope containing the money. The attacker then escaped.
On Wednesday night, a pillion rider on a motorcycle gun-butted a policeman, relieved him of a gold chain, and escaped with an accomplice.
And yesterday, bandits escaped in a car after robbing a cashier at the Western Union outlet at the C&F Mall in Bagotstown, East Bank Demerara.
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