Latest update March 27th, 2023 12:59 AM
Feb 02, 2023 News
Kaieteur News – Residents of Buxton on Wednesday blocked the public road and the Railway Embankment on the East Coast of Demerara (ECD) and torched a truck following a Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) operation in the area.
The massive protest erupted between 10:00 and 11:00hrs and lasted until 15:00hrs after shots were reportedly fired by the CANU ranks while arresting a suspect identified as, Odearie Phillips, 25, of Vigilance, ECD. CANU had reportedly tried to intercept Phillips’ car during an operation along the ECD but he reportedly evaded ranks at a road block set up at Buxton. The ranks suspected that he might have been carrying drugs and chased him into Buxton and were eventually able to arrest him with some $7M worth of marijuana (23.2 Kilograms) after his car came to a halt in a trench.
However, CANU claimed that while arresting Phillips, its officers were forced to fire warning shots after Buxtonians became hostile and assaulted some of them for trying to apprehend him. “Members of the public became hostile, assaulted several officers and damaged several of the unit’s vehicles in an attempt to free Phillips who was in lawful custody by pulling him out of CANU’s vehicle, this resulted in several shots being discharged into the air”, CANU stated.
The Buxtonians on the other hand claimed that they became angry because the CANU ranks had endangered their lives by recklessly “shooting up”. During the protest, the residents were heard telling the ECD Police Commander, Khali Pareshram as he tried to calm them down. “Supposed them been kill me the morning. We want the team return (CANU rank), Let the team return.” Others claimed that their houses were “shot up” by the ranks.
One woman who identified herself as a friend of Phillips, the suspect nabbed by CANU said, “I was at home in Brushe Dam, Friendship lying down on my bed with my husband and when I hear some gunshots firing. But before I heard the gunshots, I hear the building vibrate and when I lift-up my head and look up, I saw bullets coming through the building.”
While she was sharing her story, other protestors could be heard shouting, “Y’all release the man (Odearie Phillips. Free he or else we na gon done (protest) today”. Just as they were chanting, a DAF Leyland truck belonging to Hack Rice Milling Complex was set ablaze and the driver, Feroze Shaw aka “Javid” had to run for his life while police including the Commander of ‘C’ Division stood helplessly.
Shaw was taken into protective custody but before leaving with police, the truck driver told
reporters at the scene, that he was attacked by two men while he tried to turn his truck around and retreat. Shaw said, “… I was going to reverse back one time but after they get a vehicle deh lang side the road, I had to pull forward lil bit more and push meh back in the street lil bit more fuh get to turn back.”
““Suh when a thing now (try to turn back),” continued the driver, “two of them guy open the door and jump up, turn off the engine and pull out the key. I don’t know what them do with it.” It was at this point that the truck was torched and Shaw had to escape with rocks being thrown behind him.
The truck was burnt until the shell remained. However, at around 14:30hrs, the protestors started to calm down and police ranks monitoring the situation decided to call in members of the Guyana Defence Force and Guyana Fire Service to assist in extinguishing the flames of the burning truck and clearing the debris off the road. As the Joint Services ranks began the process, some of the protestors became hostile again and began pelting bottles and rocks at the approaching ranks. Reporters at the scene had to take cover but the hostility only lasted a short while and the ranks were allowed to clear the road. It took a few hours for the lawmen to entirely clear the road before traffic was eventually restored around 17:00hrs on Wednesday. Wednesday’s skirmishes were also reminiscent of the violence that enveloped Golden Grove and other Upper East Coast Demerara villages last year over the killing of Quindon Bacchus by members of the Guyana Police Force.
They are being paid while we are being played…your pain is their gain!
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