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Family blasts Police, Ramjattan for tardy response

Dead: Ganesh Ramlall

Dead: Ganesh Ramlall

La Jalousie murder

 

BY VAHNU MANIKCHAND

 

Relatives of murdered businessman, Ganesh Ramlall are up in arms against the Guyana Police Force (GPF) for what they described as their lethargic response, which resulted in four killers escaping from the scene on bicycles early Sunday morning.

And they again slam Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan for not being able to devise any concrete strategy to deal with the upsurge in crime. Ramjattan has come under severe criticism for his handling of the crime situation so far and his recent enforcement of a 02:00h curfew for drinking bars.

Forty-eight-year-old Ramlall, owner of Regent Street Multiplex Mall and of Lot C La Jalousie, West Coast Demerara, was shot at least seven times about his body including his head, in the wee hours of Sunday morning. Information received revealed that the businessman returned home around 00:30h, and went to use the external washroom when he was attacked by gunmen. After realising there were gunmen in the yard, he immediately rushed out the washroom, heading to the backdoor of the house and yelled out to his wife, 18-year-old daughter and niece who were upstairs. It was while alerting his family that thieves were in the yard that he was reportedly gunned down.

When Guyana Times visited the home on Monday, relatives and friends kept pouring in to offer their condolences to the grieving family. Speaking with this publication, relatives gathered at the family’s home, vented their anger at the fact that the Police were unreachable on Sunday morning. They disclosed that a relative from Herstelling, East Bank Demerara, had to transport a bus of Police Officers all the way to the crime scene. One relative told this publication that there needs to be a stronger Police Force to “serve and protect” Guyanese, noting that it is almost every day someone is being killed. The woman noted that there needs to be better facilities in place and officers need to be fully equipped in order to effectively police the country. She highlighted that one such system that needs to be fixed is the emergency response line.

“They (Ramlall’s wife, daughter and niece) called 911 so many times and there were no answers. It wasn’t just them, all the neighbours were trying to get the police but no one got on to the Police station. They had to call a relative from till in Herstelling to bring Police and we have Police stations that are less than five minutes away from us,” the relative stated.

The women went on to say that it was after they took Ramlall to the West Demerara Regional Hospital where he was pronounced dead, and after they had returned home that two Police Officers from a nearby station arrived. “Only two of them showed up, suppose there was a troop (of bandits) here, what would they have done? The two just showed up casually asking “where is he (Ramlall)… that was almost an hour after they (Police) come,” the upset relative recalled.

The relative further explained that even after the perpetrators had escaped and neighbours had come out, they were still trying the contact the Police but there was no response. She added that someone had to even go pick up the officers from one of the stations. The woman continued lambasting the 02:00h curfew that was recently enforced by Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan, noting that the Minister, as well as the GPF, should focus on effectively and efficiently managing the security of the country’s citizens. “I am challenging the Police Force and the Government to put better things in place. It’s not about curfew, it not about whether people are drunk or not, or if they smoke because if they are home early or not, they still get killed. That (curfew) doesn’t stop anyone from breaking and entering into your house. What can stop or help the cause is efficient service which we don’t have! Had the Police been there when we called, had they answered their phones when we called and not sleep as though they are being paid to sleep, then they probably could have caught the perpetrators,” the woman pointed out.

She further underscored the need for street lights in the area, noting that the family had to invest their money to get a street light. Meanwhile, Guyana Times spoke to some of the victim’s neighbours regarding the incident. One man related that he was awakened by screams coming from the Ramlall’s house calling for help. He added that immediately after he heard several gunshots and the screams stopped. The man recalled secretively peeping out into his neighbour’s yard, where he saw a man armed with a “big” gun standing on the outside next to the empty lot that is located on the right hand side of Ramlall’s house, while at the same time two others were scaling the fence from the inside. He stated that the three men then walked in westerly, where there is a turn in the road, and subsequently jumped into a Primo motor car that was waiting further up the road. The shooting has sent shockwaves through the West Coast village. The father of one was described by all as a gem. He had only last week attended the graduation of his daughter at Queens College after completing her CAPE examinations. Ramlall was a noted philanthropist, a staunch Hindu and was a benefactor of the village Mandir, which is located a block from his home. He worked his way up from owning stalls in Stabroek Market to becoming a mall owner and being one of the country’s largest importers of clothing from Cuar?ao and Panama. The small village of La Jalousie is mostly populated by relatives of Ramlall.

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