Armed bandits invade Guyana Society for the Blind, assault members

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The Guyana Society for the Blind (GSB) located at High Street, Georgetown was on Tuesday evening ambushed, and robbed while some of its visually impaired members were reportedly assaulted.

The Guyana Society for the Blind headquarters at High Street

Speaking to INews on Wednesday morning, one of the victims of assault, identified as 27-year-old Anthony Robinson –who is visually impaired- explained that at around 22:00hrs, he, in the company of an older man –who was sighted-  went outside of the building to bring in the laundry.

“Last night, we were outside picking up some clothes. Me and another guy, a big man, named “Smoker”. He went outside to pick up some clothes and same time [I recalled] I had some clothes outside too and I went out to pick up my clothes,” he explained.

Robinson said that as they were in the process of locking the doors, several men ambushed them and held them at gunpoint.

“[They] start running to the sighted person, the big man who does watch over us in here, they run to he and they start asking he for the money and the keys. ‘Where’s the money and the keys?! Where’s the money and the keys?!”

The 27-year-old, who still appeared to be traumatised, told INews that according to his sighted friend- who was not available to speak to the media- there were four perpetrators who were armed.

He explained that one of the suspects hit his colleague above the head, causing him to collapse on the ground, while ordering him [Robinson] not to move.

“They run to the big man back again and tell he that anytime he move, they gon shoot he,” the man recounted.

The visually impaired man said that the suspects continued to demand “money and the key”. However, upon noticing that the duo they were attacking were not being helpful, the bandits rushed to another section of the GBS, where other visually challenged persons were gathered.

The perpetrators then assaulted at least four other members, before breaking the door to a storage room, where they reportedly stole one laptop.

The storage room door

INews was told that when the victims were ordered to empty their pockets and the bandits saw only a few hundred dollars, they [bandits] said “keep it” and fled the scene in a waiting vehicle.

One of the persons who was present at the time of the incident was a Broadcaster attached to the National Communication Network (NCN), Leroy Phillips.

Phillips told this online publication that he was in a classroom when he heard the commotion outside and as such, quickly ran into the washroom where he secured himself throughout the ordeal, which he said lasted approximately 10 minutes.

Further, Cecil Morris, the President of the GSB, explained that he was in his room – located in the organisation’s building- when the robbery began.

Cecil Morris, the President of the GSB

He said that while the perpetrators did not assault him, he attempted to contact the police but was greeted by an unfriendly female operator who “did not seem to know what she was doing.”

He said after calling other police contact numbers, he was asked to wait for a patrol with ranks to arrive, but they never did.

“After speaking to them, I waited about 20 minutes and I got no response from them. When I called them back, they gave me another phone number….Is Leroy had to call his friend that is in the police force and he [detective] came like 10 minutes after,” Morris said.

As such, he called for members of the Guyana Police Force to take the complaints and reports of the GSB seriously, since according to him, several robbery attacks have been staged on the entity on previous occasions and in most instances, police fail to react.

“This is a climax to what is happening in this area for a long time for persons who traverse this area who are being robbed and things like that and when you call the police, they could never ever come on time and sometimes they don’t come at all, most times they don’t come at all. We find this very annoying because our only hope of some kind of protection, we don’t get it from the police,” he explained.

The GSB President also claimed that even after ranks visited the location this morning, no statements had been taken from the victims.

Investigations are ongoing. (Ramona Luthi)

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