Gunmen shoot postmaster, snatch $8.2M


NEW AMSTERDAM, BERBICE – Two men staged a daring robbery near the New Amsterdam Post Office about 08:15 hours yesterday and reportedly made off with $8.2 million.

Kishore Sewlall, 38, the Post Master of the Nigg Post Office, is nursing a gunshot wound to the abdomen at the New Amsterdam Hospital where he is listed in a critical but stable condition.

According to medical personnel, the gunshot wound caused damage to both the large and small intestines but is not considered life-threatening. The bullet is lodged in the pelvic region.

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Commander of Division ‘B' of the Guyana Police Force, Assistant Commissioner Clinton Conway, said that two men, who were ‘liming' at the junction of Republic Road and the Post Office road (Alexander Street) in New Amsterdam staged the attack about 200 yards from the post office as Sewlall and Chief Post Master of the Berbice District, Gangadar Munesar, were on their way to distribute the $8.2 million to the post offices across East Berbice.

They had just uplifted the money from the New Amsterdam Post Office and were using Kishore Sewlall's vehicle which is usually contracted to do hire work for the Post Office Corporation.

According to Commander Conway, normally the Post Office would hire an escort from the COPS Security Services for the cash distribution. The COPS office is situated just across the street from the Post Office.

On Saturday, after the escort did not show up, Sewlall and Munesar embarked on the journey alone.

The Commander said that one of the bandits, who was armed with a handgun, shot Kishore Sewlall. He then pulled him out of the vehicle while his accomplice dragged Munesar out.

The gunmen climbed into Sewlall's car, HB 1024, with the shooter getting behind the wheel and driving off. The vehicle turned left on Republic Road and then left again into Philadelphia Street .

The car, a white Nissan Super Saloon, was later recovered in a street at Budhan's Scheme in Caracas , West Canje , Berbice, with two children of a staff member of the New Amsterdam Post Office.

The children were being taken to Canje at the time of the incident. They were unharmed.

The vehicle is now lodged in the compound of the Central Police Station at Coburg Street , New Amsterdam .

In the getaway car, a power of attorney was lying on the front seat. A pair of rubber slippers was on the grass outside the left front passenger door and a lunch box was on the back seat. Also in the vehicle were two pairs of slippers belonging to the two children who were in the car.

When the car was found the trunk and driver's door was left ajar.

A resident of Caracas said that when he saw the vehicle approaching in such speed about 08:30 hours, he assumed that it was in a terrible hurry probably because someone was ill. He said that he saw two men in the vehicle.

“After the car stopped one of them opened the trunk and take out a box and bag. About five minutes later the police show up. One of the bandits had on a white shirt. The bag was a whitish one and there was a brown cardboard box. They then go into the bush.”

Back at the post office, employees stood in shock outside the building. The office was closed within minutes of the incident.

Gangadar Munesar refused to comment on the incident.

One staff member said that they heard the explosion and learnt of the robbery after they saw the crowd gathering.

A source of the Guyana Post Office Corporation said, “I believe is a setup! How the men know the exact time to make their move?”

The source said that the money was withdrawn from the bank on Friday and was kept at the New Amsterdam Post Office overnight. On Saturday the two post masters were on their way to all post offices between Reliance and Skeldon.

According to the source, the post master is not supposed to transport cash. “They should hire a car and get an escort. But this is what they usually do, use his car and split the money.”

According to an eyewitness, as the car with the two post masters was approaching Republic Road, three men in another car were on Republic Road (Backdam). A man riding a bicycle jumped off and threw his cycle in front of the Post Master's car, stopping it.

One of the bandits jumped out from the second car and launched the attack. In the process Sewlall was shot. The mail van, on its way from the New Amsterdam Ferry Stelling, was heading to the New Amsterdam Post Office and the two post maters jumped into it for safety.

Sewlall's wife, Indira Kumar, said that she was at their Nigg Settlement home when she got the call about the incident. At the New Amsterdam Hospital she waited anxiously for word on her husband's condition.

The woman said that her husband left home some time after 08:00 hours for the New Amsterdam Post Office. The man is father to two boys, aged 13 and 11.

Up to late yesterday no one was arrested.

Friday 01-04-2002