By Michael Jordan
It was noon on Thursday, October 1, 1998, when 63-year-old vehicle importer Mohamed ‘Akbar’ Hussein stepped out of his office in the Guyana National Industrial Corporation (GNIC) wharf at Water and Princes Streets. He then got into a white Toyota Sprinter and drove out of the compound.
But just as the gates closed behind him, two men in another car drove up to Hussein’s vehicle.
One of the men exited the car. He drew a handgun and pointed it at Hussein. He squeezed the trigger three times.
The bullets struck the elderly car dealer in the head and stomach, killing him almost instantly. Hussein’s killers entered their car and drove away, taking his briefcase containing documents with them.
Two days after the brazen execution-style killing, police announced that they identified one of the men who had killed ‘Akbar’ Hussein.
He was Jerry Perreira, who was known to police as a petty thief. Perreira was slim, fair in complexion, about five feet five inches tall. An old gunshot wound had left him with a slight limp.
The bulletin described the suspect as being “armed and dangerous” and gave his addresses as Lot 23 Saffon Street, Charlestown, North Haslington, East Coast Demerara, Golden Grove, and Albouystown.
Policemen who knew Perreira well said that he grew up in Pike Street, Kitty, and lived with his mother and two sisters.
By his mid-teens, he had already turned to a life of crime and was regularly detained at the Kitty Police Station for burglaries. Because of his age, he was not placed in the lockups. Eventually, he became old enough to be convicted, and served time in the Georgetown Prison.
According to some policemen, Jerry Perreira also began using cocaine. He also gravitated to more serious crimes. Some believe that he also became a hired killer.
There was talk that he had executed a shopkeeper in Sophia. In 1995, he almost killed a prominent attorney—Charles Ramson.
It was nightfall on Tuesday, August 22, 1995, and attorney-at-law Charles Ramson was in a Sheriff Street restaurant when someone behind him said: “Give me all you got.”
Thinking that one of his friends was pulling a prank, Ramson turned around.
He found himself staring at a young man who was holding a .32 revolver.
“My eyes and his ‘made four’,” Ramson would later recall. “He looked very vicious.
He had beady eyes…eyes that you would usually associate with the criminal kind.”
Two other gunmen were also in the restaurant. They proceeded to rob the other patrons, but Ramson, who was wearing jewellery and carrying cash, was not prepared to give up his valuables without a fight.
The lawyer pushed the bandit’s gun aside. There was a loud explosion, and a bullet pierced Ramson’s abdomen and exited through his left thigh.
The attorney’s left side suddenly grew numb and he collapsed onto the floor. As he lay bleeding, the gunmen relieved Ramson of his jewellery and money before fleeing.
Ramson, who had not lost consciousness, somehow managed to stand, enter his car,
and drive to a private hospital. The doctors told him that the bullet had missed his kidney and abdominal cavity by less than an inch. He had narrowly escaped death.
During his 48-hour stay at the hospital, detectives visited the attorney and showed him several photographs of wanted men.
Ramson identified one of the men in the photographs as the gunman who had shot him. Police revealed that the man in the mug shot was Jerry Perreira.
The brazen act attracted the attention of top government officials, including the then President Dr. Cheddi Jagan.
Ramson said that President Jagan was concerned that the robbery might actually have been an execution attempt.
At the time, Ramson was representing the government in a case against a foreign company that had sued the Government for several million dollars.
The company was losing the case, and it appeared as if they would not receive a single dollar from the Guyana Government.
There was speculation, therefore, that the attack on Ramson was somehow tied to the case.
A Special Branch official questioned Ramson and asked him if he believed that the attack on him was connected to the court matter. Ramson told the Special Branch official that he thought that the motive was robbery. He pointed out that Perreira could easily have killed him as he lay on the restaurant floor.
But that was not Mr. Ramson’s last encounter with Perreira.
Ramson, who became Attorney General in 1996, said that he often saw the gunman in various vehicles. He said that Perreira would stare at him without animosity, but the cars would speed away. Ramson said that he would inform the police about his sightings, but the ranks would always say that they could not locate the suspect.
Ramson opined that had the police captured Perreira in 1996, they would have prevented him from carrying out three brutal murders.
After killing car dealer ‘Akbar’ Hussein in October 1998, Perreira and his gang carried out a string of robberies. Then in late December 1998, the gang’s activities took a deadly turn.
It was around 18:00 hrs, and businessman Mohamed Kassim and his wife, Dora, were preparing to close their Strand, New Amsterdam Store.
Their son, 22-year-old Andrew Kassim, was packing one of his father’s trucks during a power outage when he heard a series of explosions. It was the Christmas season and he at first assumed that someone was lighting firecrackers.
But then he realised that the sounds were actually gunshots. Andrew immediately ran from the back of the truck, only to be greeted by the sight of his mother bleeding profusely from a wound at the back of her head. Andrew cradled his wounded mother. She gasped once, then died in his arms.
Nearby, the distraught youth found his father’s body, he, too had been shot in the head.
Police were informed that two gunmen had killed the Kassims. The killers had escaped with a shoulder bag containing cash from the day’s sales, a quantity of US currency and some raw gold.
The Berbice business community voiced its outrage at the atrocity and demanded that the police act swiftly.
And justice was meted out to the killers, but not in the way anyone had anticipated.
The day after the Kassims were slain, a team of police ranks visited a small, dilapidated house at Edinburgh Village, Berbice.
In the house, police found the bodies of a man and a woman. Both had been shot. Police immediately recognised the man as the notorious Jerry Perreira. The female victim was his reputed wife. The ranks also reportedly found a gold ring which they said belonged to the Kassims.
Police officials also stated that Dale Moore, another notorious gunman, was a member of the Perreira gang. The suggestion was that there had been a falling out between Moore and Perreira, probably over the sharing of the spoils from the robbery/murder.
But there were reports that Moore told some of his associates that he had been hired to kill Perreira.
Dale Moore fled the country after Perreira’s death, only to be captured in Brazil and returned to Guyana.
In 2002, Moore and four other criminals staged the infamous Mash Day jailbreak.
He was gunned down some months later, forever taking the secret of Jerry Perreira’s death with him.
If you have any information about an unusual, interesting or unsolved case, please contact Kaieteur News by letter or telephone at our Lot 24 Saffon Street, Charlestown offices. Our numbers are 225-8465, 225-8473 and 225-8458. You need not disclose your identity. You can also contact Michael Jordan at his email address [email protected]; or his cell number: 645-2447.
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