A pensioner, on Wednesday last, was stripped of his clothes, robbed, beaten and forced to watch his car go up in flames during a violent attack by protesters at Mahaicony, Region Five.
Jerome Basdeo, 65, of Laing Avenue, West Ruimveldt, came under attack just before noon while stuck at one of the road blocks set by the protesters from Mahaicony.
This attack was just one of many which have occurred over the last few days during intense protest action along the Berbice and East Coast areas, demanding justice for brutally murdered teens, Joel and Isaiah Henry.
Basdeo told this newspaper that he left his home early that morning to assist his 55-year-old friend, a Jamaican citizen of Afro-descent who was left stranded in Guyana because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
According to Basdeo, the friend had asked him for a drop to Mahaicony.
He explained that the man had bought some gifts for his grandchildren who live in that region and wanted to deliver them before returning to Jamaica.
However, their trip turned into a nightmare, he said, as they entered the Mahaicony area.
He claimed that as they were almost nearing their destination, they were confronted by an angry crowd.
Within minutes protesters surrounded his Spacio car, PPP 1776, and punctured all four of the tyres.
They began pelting at the car and forcefully removed him and his friend from the car.
Basdeo said that the violent group accused him of playing a role in the death of the teens. There were racial slurs.
He was punched multiple times about his body. They took away his pouch containing $15,000 in cash.
The protesters continued their violence, he added, by stripping him of his shirt, pants and sneakers leaving him dressed only with boxers and brief.
Basdeo said that his Jamaican friend tried to intervene but the protesters slapped the man to the face, robbed him of his wallet and told him to “shut up”.
Scared for his life, Basdeo said that his friend remained quiet.
The pensioner continued that the protesters shifted their attention back to him and took off his 15 pennyweight gold chain.
A number of them, Basdeo detailed, then doused his car with a flammable substance and set it alight with all the gifts his friend had intended to deliver to his grandchildren.
Basdeo recalled that the protesters even took his NIS card, ID card, car documents, driver’s licensce and his old age pension book from the pouch and threw them into the fire as well.
The violent crowd then started beating him again.
Basdeo claimed that they “lashed him” repeatedly with cutlasses, cuffed and gun butted him while his friend stood begging the protesters to leave him alone. Somehow, Basdeo said, he managed to free himself and ran but the protesters pursued pelting chops behind him.
One of the chop caught him on his forearm but instead of slowing down, Basdeo said he continued running. His friend ran along with him too and they both escaped the violent attack.
Basdeo told Kaieteur News that he and his friend ran for some distance until a few villagers from Mahaicony rescued them.
The residents gave Basdeo $500, a pair of pants and shirt but no shoes. They then assisted in flogging down a truck to transport the men to the Mahaica Police Station.
At the station, Basdeo said, the ranks were a bit reluctant to take his report. Nevertheless, he said, the police took his statement, gave him a form and instructed him to head to a hospital for a medical immediately.
Injured and bleeding, Basdeo said it took a while to convince minibus operators to transport him and his friend to Georgetown for only $500.
At almost 14:00hrs, he said, a driver stopped and took them to the city.
In Georgetown, Basdeo made contact with his daughter and was rushed to Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).
There it was discovered that Basdeo had developed complications with his heart due to a heart surgery he had done only last month.
As a result, he was transferred to the St. Joseph Mercy Hospital where he was treated and sent home at around mid-night.
Apart from Basdeo’s horrifying story, he is now faced with refunding some $1,500,000 which he had received as payments for the car, which the protesters had destroyed with fire.
Basdeo claimed that he had sold the car and the client was scheduled to uplift it yesterday.
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