Patrons of Master Stone Pub in South Oropouche claimed that during the early hours of Saturday morning, armed soldiers entered and beat them up. Several warning shots, the patrons said, were also fired outside the bar as soldiers ordered them to “run home!”
Among the victims were the wife and daughter of a soldier and also the husband of another soldier.
The victims including Dale Francis, 26, Ron Meyers and Tiffany Ellis were taken to the San Fernando General Hospital where they were treated for their injuries and later discharged.
They claimed between them they lost $1,000 and four cellphones. Francis, a pipefitter who is due to undergo surgery for an undisclosed illness said he was kicked several times in the chest by the soldiers. He said he is unable to walk properly and is on painkillers. Myers was kicked in the face while a soldier stomped on Ellis’ ankle, Newsday was told.
According to reports the close relatives and friends of the male and female soldiers were among a group of 15 persons attacked by soldiers while inside the pub located at St Mary’s Village, South Oropouche.
The soldier’s wife who asked not to be identified said she was “tie strapped” when she refused to lie on the ground. She said she and her 20-year-old daughter were dragged outside the bar and thrown into the soldiers’ truck and later dropped off at the Oropouche Police Station. She managed to contact her husband who arrived on the scene moments after the fracas began but he too was chased away by his military colleagues.
The patrons recorded the registration number (given) of the truck in which the soldiers arrived.
A report was made to the nearby South Oropouche Police Station and the defence force.
A few hours later, officials from the defence force visited the victims at their respective homes and recorded individual statements.
Pub owner Joy Pierre told Newsday when the soldiers, some masked, entered the pub she thought they were criminals. “I was inside the bar and immediately put on all the lights. A few minutes later I realised that it was soldiers and among them were soldiers who belong to our community. I never fought back and kept my hands raised,” she said.
Pierre said when the state of emergency was announced she sought permission from police to have her business place open as usual on weekends from 8 pm to 5 am as customary. “They told me it was okay as we are not in a hot spot. There were just three people outside waiting for food. Everyone else was inside.”
Last Thursday, relatives of three men — two of whom are brothers — claimed the men were badly beaten by soldiers at the men’s Forres Park, Claxton Bay homes.