…says less liquid cash means less robberiesIn light of a number of armed robberies that involved victims who would have just exited commercial banks,Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattanthe need to carry less cash and more credit or debit cards is again coming to the fore.The Government Information Agency (GINA) quoted Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan as the most recent public official to call for more persons to ‘go plastic’.Minister Ramjattan made the call as he was responding to questions about the role of citizens in the crime fight. The Minister, while speaking at the Golden Jubilee National Symposia Series on Monday at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre, said many robberies involving large sums of money would be reduced if business people and others made the switch to plastic.He noted that some business people “walk around with millions and millions of dollars,” according to GINA.Ramjattan explained that most of the big robberies that have occurred happened because some persons have “inside information of some car or bag got 10 million, five million or three million dollars.”As such, he reiterated previous calls for Guyanese to go plastic, but noted that a lot of people don’t want to do this because they seek to avoid tax payments.The result, he likened to a double whammy, “you’re avoiding taxes, plus you’re getting robbed.”The Public Security Minister stated his Government will continue to do its part in the fight against crime and touted tools such as surveillance cameras as important. However, he highlighted that the employment rate must be increased as another way “to get the crime rates down.”In July 2013, following a spate of armed robberies, then Police Commissioner Leroy Brumell urged members of the business community to be more security conscious, noting that it’s time to do less liquid cash transactions and utilise ‘plastic’ to transact business.He had explained that the maximum use of ‘plastic’ will definitely impact on robberies and the violence associated with armed robberies.In August 2014, then Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh had sought to discourage his fellow countrymen and women from carrying large and bulky amounts of cash.The Minister had said there is no compelling or legitimate reason for a citizen to be walking around with large volumes of cash to do financial transactions as he pointed to the many alternative options available, including going plastic.This is not the first time the Minister has sought to deter citizens from carrying large sums of cash.Among the policies the former Finance Minister’s Government had introduced was the launch of a $5000 bill which reduced the physical bulk of cash and the move for Government Ministries and agencies to pay their employees via bank orders; a practice which has been significantly replicated across the Private Sector.However, the practice of business persons and other Guyanese of moving around with large sums of cash continues unabated and many criminal elements are said to be lurking around commercial banks, particularly in the country’s commercial centres, on the look out for their next victim.
Sawmill accidentA post-mortem examination conducted on the body of Lindener Stephon Braithwaite, called “Grinch” who was crushed to death at his place of work on Thursday, has determined that he died from multiple injuries to the body. The examination was conducted by Government Pathologist, Dr Nehaul Singh at the Georgetown Public Hospital Mortuary on Friday. The 20-year-old labourer of Lot 100 Block 22 Squatting Area, Wismar, Linden, was crushed to death by a falling log while trying to clear the filter of a lorry at the RI Forest Products, Sawmill and Lumber Yard located at Blueberry Hill, Wismar, Linden, Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice).Preliminary investigations revealed the now dead man was servicing one of the trucks in the compound. As he continued his work, he reportedly went to another truck which was being offloaded with lumber to get fuel from the tank to put into a filter. In the process of extracting the fuel, one of the logs slid off the truck and pinned him to the ground, crushing his abdominal cavity, causing his intestines to protrude. Guyana Times understands that upon hearing the noise of the log sliding off and a brief scream from the now dead man, several employees rushed to his assistance, but it was already too late.Nevertheless, they managed to lift the log off of him and rushed him to the Linden Hospital Complex where he was pronounced dead on arrival. Francis Braithwaite, mother of the dead man, claimed she was told that one of the workers released the chains from a log that was secured to a truck, causing it to fall on her son.The aggrieved mother stated that she was told that her son, who is a father of two, was at the time servicing a truck to head back into an interior location when the accident occurred. His body has been handed over to the family for burial.