A pastor and his family remain traumatised after they were attacked and robbed during protests in West Berbice.
The protests were initially a movement demanding justice for cousins 16-year-old Isaiah Henry and 19-year-old Joel Henry, whose mutilated bodies were found in the Cotton Tree, West Coast Berbice (WCB) backdam on Sunday. However, the protests have turned violent.
Pastor Premraj Parshotam and his wife recounted the horrifying attack on their family by protesters on Sunday.
“We have a church in Enmore, so every Sunday we will come to church here and after church we would spend some family time and we would head back home. We weren’t aware on Sunday what was happening, we weren’t aware that they were protesting…” the wife said.
As such, on their way home to Berbice, while they were at No.5 Village, they were confronted at a road block.
“We weren’t aware and we actually drove into it. There was a Police van that was parked there and my husband drove up to them… we asked them if it was safe to go forward, they said no, we said can we turn back and they said yes. At least they could have said it is not safe to turn back stay here… or wait until we can escort you,” the woman explained.
As they got closer, they saw a mob of protesters on the road, and a few materials blocking the roadway. The woman said there was a small opening at the corner of the road block, and thinking it was okay to pass, her husband made an attempt to get on the other side.
“There was a small track that we could have passed but a white minibus came and cut us off. Some guys jumped out and they asked me and my husband where you going, where you think you going… then everybody start coming and flocking around the vehicle. They took my husband out of the vehicle and they started beating him and checking his pockets.”
According to the pastor’s wife, while they were beating her husband, she was in the car with her two sons. She said they then took her out of the vehicle, but they did not hit her.
Mrs Parshotam said that they started demanding that they hand over their belongings, and she gave them her bag, which had over $40,000, her cellular phone, her husband’s watch, her son’s laptop, among other things.
The woman said she and her family began begging for their lives, as the protesters contemplated on what they should do with them. She said they then took a bicycle and began hitting their car, which resulted in the windows being broken.
Shortly after, the Parshotam’s family said a group of police officers arrived and escorted them out of the area. Mrs Parshotam said they had to turn around and return to the East Coast, where they are currently left stranded.
Meanwhile, the terrified family said even though they were hurt during the ordeal, they forgive the persons who inflicted injuries on them, and will not be pressing any criminal charges.
“I strongly condemn the senseless and brutal killing of the Henry’s boys. My prayers and sympathies goes out to their family…. Sis Gale and her son are no stranger to my husband. They used to be a member of one our church before she moved to West Berbice. I know how that family felt because as a mother, when I was going through that on Sunday all I was thinking is to give them everything so they wouldn’t touch my kids,” the woman said.