Millions in losses, vendors traumatised after robbed, beaten during protest


By Isanella Patoir

Protest action on Tuesday for justice over the shooting death of 23-year-old Quindon Bachhus by a policeman also presented the opportunity for rioters to loot, burn stalls and destroy the vehicles of vendors at the Mon Repos Market on the East Coast of Demerara.

The destruction has left vendors with millions of dollars in damage and losses and many of them, in tears, have questioned what their next move will be.

The East Coast corridor was packed with hundreds of protestors who blocked the free flow of traffic at several villages but it was at the Mon Repos market that the protest turned violent.

Vendors there told the News Room that they had no choice but to run for safety and left their goods and stalls behind.

Indrawattie Bridgobin’s minibus as damaged by the rioters (Photo: News Room/June 28, 2022)

“It was traumatic.

“First time I experience something like this,” Indrawattie Bridgobin, who sells clothing and footwear, said.

Bridgobin’s minibus was also destroyed and her goods were stolen.

Nalini said she picked up her son, ran away and left her stalls (Photo: News Room/June 28, 2022)

Another vendor, Nalini, has been plying her trade at four stalls in the market. She explained that police ranks arrived moments before the rioters came and told them to pack up and leave.

“I picked up my son and I run and I left everything, I couldn’t save anything; the only thing I could have gotten is my car key.

“Today [I] stocked up everything for my business and everything gone,” a tearful Nalini told the News Room.

The woman’s car was also destroyed during the attack.

Tularam Ramkarran, a father of eight, has been selling groceries at the market for years. During the protest on Tuesday, his minibus was set on fire and he was also beaten.

Tularam Ramkarran’s minibus was set on fire (Photo: News Room/June 28, 2022)

Ramkarran was in tears when he recounted to the News Room that he was loading his bus when the rioters attacked him.

“After I hear the people coming and protest, me start to load up my bus to move out, by the time I done load up and go in the bus, them man come and lash up the bus, start punch me and start burn up the bus,” the tearful man explained.

He said his daily earnings, along with his cell phone, were also stolen.

“I don’t know what I am going to do for a living and I don’t know what I am going to do now,” a distraught Ramkarran said.

Vanessa Khan, another vendor, claimed that she was beaten by one of the rioters. Khan said she was punched to her left eye.

“We selling to make an honest dollar, suppose them did lash me and blind me?

“I have two children…who is going to give me money to buy back my load? Khan questioned.

Meanwhile, Kamini said when she heard the protest was moving along the East Coast, she hurriedly picked up her son from his school nearby. Kamini then made her way back to the market to try and secure her goods.

Tularam Ramkarran’s minibus was set on fire (Photo: News Room/June 28, 2022)

“I had nothing else to do than run for safety, whatever you had on you, what you make for your daily sales, they take it.

“We didn’t expect this, we hear it was a peaceful protest, they gone with everything, break up people stall, loot the stand and burn up people bus,” Kamini related.

Kamini and other vendors are also dissatisfied with the response by the Guyana Police Force.

“They got the helicopter flying, bring soldiers and protect people. I know everybody can’t come but at least bring a few and let them secure the area, the police leave the scene when they see the mob coming and walk away,” Kamini said.

Other vehicles were also damaged by the rioters at the market. And following the looting and robbing of the vendors, citizens took photos of some of the suspects fleeing with the stolen goods on the roadway.

The News Room has also confirmed that a fruit vendor, known as “Buddy”, was beaten and robbed of $700,000.

Meanwhile, Minister of Home Affairs Robeson Benn was on the ground observing the clearing of the roadways of people and debris.

He too lamented the delayed police response and called on protesters to remain peaceful.

“For sure I think there was a delay in the police response and what seemingly started as a protest cascaded down the coast,” Benn said.

The Guyana Police Force in a brief statement said the Joint Services will monitor the East Coast roadway to mitigate against acts of crime and damage to property.

Meanwhile, the family of Quindon Bacchus has since condemned acts of criminality during Tuesday’s protest and noted that their demonstrations remained peaceful at Golden Grove.

Bacchus was shot by a plainclothes policeman on June 10 at Haslington, during an alleged undercover police operation. The protest by the residents erupted after a facetious online outlet inaccurately reported that the cop, identified as Kristoff Denobrega, was released from police custody.

The cop remains in custody and in confinement at Police Headquarters. The protest Tuesday morning expanded to several East Coast Demerara villages, including Enmore, Strathspey, Buxton, Lusignan, Good Hope and Mon Repos.

1 Comment
  1. Jagan / Burnham. says

    Y r innocent people being beaten,robbed,traumatized,robbed burnt out,looted…eye pass,rass pass…
    Indos have 2 fight back
    Y r d police inactive,incompetent,unprofessional,negligent to their duty and oath
    Where r d gdf
    Where r d pnc,afc,wpa,churches,mayjees,pandit,civic groups,ngo…
    How many criminals have been arrested
    Tourists,Remigrants Investors Retirees,DIAPERING…welcome 2 h/s…holes guyana

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