Friday, 27 February 2009

Granny, 72, fights off AK-47 bandits

The newspapers here make depressing reading. Every day violent burglaries, murders, muggings, perpetrators skipping bail and complex, detailed, persistent domestic violence jostle for space on the front pages of both the Stabroek and Kaiteur dailies. So this headline bellowing from the front of the Kaiteur News leapt out and grabbed us. And by 'us' I mean all of us- though with an interesting spread of reactions. Desiree, Angie and Patsy, the lovely Brickdam domestic staff, were literally shrieking with laughter. I have never heard them laugh so much. The Indian Jesuits found it absurd. I really enjoyed hearing the jokes multiply- "watch out for that Angie!" (Angie is about 80 and hale but frail) etc, but my own feelings were different. Relieved? Encouraged? This morning when we were waiting at the Guyana Revenue Authority, where the obstructive, despairing, sullen Carolita was doing her utmost to deflate, depress or otherwise derail everyone's day, a dapper, open-faced, Dumbo-eared Indo-Guyanese man stood up and prophesied: not quite doom about to rain from the sky on the GRA and all who sail in her, but something along those lines. I felt much the same about the PAYE Prophet as I do about Euline Hinds, the Hero of the Day.

Here is the article in full:

Two bandits, one armed with an AK-47 rifle, were no match for a 72-year-old re-migrant who forced them to flee empty-handed by dousing one of them with pepper spray.

The bandits had attacked the home of Euline Hinds and her husband, Desmond, at 35 Section C NonPareil, East Coast Demarara, at about 22:30 hours on Wednesday. Police believe that the bandits are the same persons who have been carrying out a series of robberies in the area.

Euline Hinds was in no mood to be relieved of what she had toiled so hard for after years in the ‘cold’.
Relating the sequence of events, Hinds said that she was in the downstairs living room watching the television programme ‘American Idol’, while her husband dosed (sic) off in a sofa next to her. The next things (sic) she knew, two bandits, one with a rifle and another with an iron bar, entered their home. The bandit with the gun pointed it to her sleeping husband’s chest, causing him to wake with a start.
According to Hinds, her husband held on to the gun and tried to wrest it from the bandit but his accomplice struck him twice in the head with the iron bar. However, the pensioner gamely held unto (sic) to the gun. Mrs Hinds then grabbed a tin of pepper spray that was nearby and sprayed it into face of the bandit who held the iron bar. “He started to shout, and stumbled out of the house. The other one with the gun managed to free himself and he too ran away. I ran behind them, but they got away”, Hinds said.

The woman explained that had she managed to get the temporarily blind bandit to the ground, he would have been a dead man.

“I was not afraid. I ran behind them. I would’a leave them walking with a white stick for the rest of their lives”, the brave 72-year-old said. “I left this country long before they were born and all them snow and cold I take. I would not allow them to take it away. They did not give something to keep”, Mrs Hinds told this newspaper.
“Once you got something in your hand, you must aim to their eyes”, she advised.
She said that both bandits were wearing black clothing. Neighbours reported, later, that they saw the men enter an abandoned house lot, apparently for the injured bandit to wash his eyes. They were unaware at the time that the men had attempted a robbery nearby. The police were subsequently summoned and a massive investigation launched.

The attack occurred despite the police announcement that they had established a special unit at the Vigilance Police Station to track down the perpetrators, who they believe are responsible for several robberies.
Guyana has a massive problem with apathy. When systems don't work, public promises are reneged, security goes down the pan, the commonest response is a scowl and "this is Guyana". Too much despair leaks forward, into the future, as well as inward, into the mind and the senses. There are many ways to skin a cat (or, to coin a topical local metaphor, 'many ways to run over a dog'), but all forms of resistance surely shore up in solidarity against the despair of the majority. It's heartening to see the brave, the angry, and even Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells, getting busy with the diatribe, the letter to the paper and, best of all (hee hee!), the pepper spray!

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