A miner who was oblivious of the West Coast Berbice riots over the gruesome slaying of two teenagers, Isaiah and Joel Henry, was on Monday beaten and robbed by protestors and then left for dead by the taxi driver he hired to transport him home.
His story is among the many horrors experienced by Guyanese who attempted to travel through the West Coast Berbice area during the violent protests which started initially as a demand for justice for the killings but later descended into days of chaos.
The victim, John Fernandez, told Kaieteur News that he was in Bartica, Region Seven, for the past three weeks and on the evening in question, he was travelling home to spend time with his family.
According to Fernandez, he was alone in the car with the driver when they came to Burma Road, Mahaicony that was blocked with protesters. They managed to pass safely through that block, he said, but a few meters up was where the trouble started.
“When we go up lil more, them boys stop the car and tell the driver I hope you ain’t get nobody different in the car. I didn’t know what was going on. I come from Bartica, just from the backdam so I didn’t know so them pull me out of the car and start lashing me all over me body. They push they hands in me pocket and tek out me money and gold and go away with me bag too.”
The miner explained that he had in his possession over $300,000 in local currency and a undisclosed amount of raw gold along with other important documents and his cell phone.
The taxi driver, he said, could not intervene and made no move to do such.
When the protesters made good their escape, he managed to get back into the taxi but to his dismay, seconds later, he was thrown out.
“I go back in the taxi and I tell the man help me get a phone call because them man tek way all me money and phone and stuff and he tell me come out. So I said them man tek way everything, just help me but he tell me get out he car.”
Fernandez explained to Kaieteur News that the driver then sped off, leaving him at the mercy of the night. He wandered along the public road until later being rescued by a stranger who saw his bruises.
“The man tell me come inside and he give me food and water and I called home and tell them what happened. I had to stay there till next morning and is only then I get to go to the hospital and then go home.”
The man expressed his thanks to the stranger who helped him, stating that if it were not for his kindness, he may not have been safe today.
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