Relatives concerned about safety of executed man’s daughter
-victim had been told to go to Laing Avenue
Stabroek News – March 31, 2008
As fear continues to grip 18-year-old Anika Barton who narrowly escaped death just over a week ago when her father was gunned down on Laing Avenue, her relatives say that three recent developments clearly show that her life is in danger.
The teen is now out of hospital after taking her own discharge and her relatives have vowed to protect her at all costs while voicing their concerns over the police’s apparent non-interest in the matter.
To them this case seems as if it would go down in Guyana’s crime pages as unsolved and they issued pleas to the law enforcement authorities to act swiftly on the information they have so that those responsible could be caught and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Reports are that two Thursday nights ago, George Barton received a telephone call in the company of his daughter to go to Laing Avenue. As the two made their way through the street just after 8 pm, a car with four men pulled up alongside them. One of the occupants shouted `B’ referring to George before opening fire on him. He was shot in his back, neck and legs.
The car drove up a little and turned around. The gunmen now armed with a much smaller gun fired several rounds at the teen hitting her trice in the knee and once in the buttocks. Reports are that seconds before she was shot, one of the occupants told the gunman that she had to be killed too.
Stabroek News was told that there has been no arrest although the police have been provided with information. Police could not be reached on Saturday for a comment on the status of their investigation.
When Stabroek News saw Anika on Saturday she was walking with a slight limp and her right knee which has entry and exit gunshot wounds was bandaged. With a sad expression on her face, she told this newspaper that the knee still pains a bit. Since taking her own discharge from the Georgetown Hospital on Sunday, the knee has not been looked at. She told this newspaper that she is very afraid and still has nightmares filled with the sound of gunshots.
Her relatives who were with her at the time of the interview said that she will be kept indoors and they will take their own security measures to ensure that she is protected.
Relating to this newspaper just how serious the situation is, relatives said there had been three incidents which were suspicious.
A relative who did not want to be identified said that around 4 last Sunday morning a strange man called the home and said that Anika should have died because “she cut up de running because the plan wasn’t that”, adding that the caller promptly ended the call before she could respond.
The woman said that the second case occurred at the Georgetown Hospital around 1 pm (when visiting hours were over) on Sunday as well when a strange man went to them asking for directions to the female malaria ward. During this time, a uniformed officer who was assigned to protect the teen was sitting with them.
The woman told this newspaper that this could have all been avoided had the police not placed a uniformed rank there, as it clearly identified her to members of the public.
She explained that after the shooting, a plain clothes policewoman was at the hospital watching over the girl but that changed on Sunday morning, when a uniformed officer was put there.
The woman recounted that she immediately became fearful and called the Brickdam police station where she demanded that the uniformed officer be moved and replaced with a plain clothes rank. She said that the officer on the other end consented to this and assured her that the change will be made.
However before the switch could occur the strange man visited. The woman said the episode rattled her because the man was in the area after visiting hours, clearly showing that the security at the front of the building did not stop him. Also she questioned why the man went directly to her and not to the nurse who would have been able to assist him.
She also told this newspaper that after not getting help from her, the man could have gone to the nurse but instead he chose to leave, giving her the impression that he wasn’t really looking for the female malaria ward.
The woman said too that she is very upset with the police because when someone called on their behalf about the uniformed rank, the officer at the station became annoyed and made statements that were uncalled for.
She stated that she was told that the officer said that George was a well known man and Anika “does deh bout de place” and so it did not matter whether there was a uniformed officer guarding her or not.
The woman said that following the visit by the “strange man”, she immediately got worried and a decision was made to leave the hospital almost immediately.
Then at George’s funeral which was held on Friday, a strange man took out Anika’s photograph without her permission.
Anika told this newspaper that the man came up to her but she didn’t pay him any attention. He subsequently took the photograph. Anika and her relative said that while they understood that it was a funeral and people were taking photographs, permission was sought before pictures were taken.
Speaking on the status of the police’s investigations, relatives said that the incident “is still fresh” and as such they should not have to be behind the police to do their work.
“Is not like three months or six months pass so I ain’t suppose to be behind them. They suppose to do their thing… I fed up with the police cause they ain’t doing their wuk” a relative said.