New reign of
terror at Vigilance
residents selling out in fear
By Shirley Thomas
A new reign of terror seems to be emerging in
South Vigilance, East Coast Demerara, forcing many
residents to hurriedly abandon their homes.
Many residents are having sleepless nights, but
even as some, out of fear have fled, taking
temporary refuge in the homes of relatives and
friends in other villages, others are making
arrangements to ‘sell’ their
properties out, and have vowed they
would be moving out of the now troubled
At least seven
recently been, or are about to be abandoned
in South Vigilance, as families scout around for
Nazir Khan and his family of seven are among the
hardest hit, and the latest to be affected. Family
members are still trying to come to terms with the
horrifying experience of being awakened at 1:10
hours on Eid-Ul-Adha morning by the sound of a
loud explosion in front of their yard - one which
literally rocked buildings in the neighbourhood,
and was heard from a great distance off.
It was the sound of an explosive device which had
been hurled at their home, they say, by some
person/persons. But the
grenade stopped short, and miraculously
landed, not on the building, but on a parapet off
the fence, just in front of their home.
So powerful was the device thrown, that a huge
crater was created where it landed. Terrified
family members got out of bed and huddled together
in the living room, being afraid to venture
outside. Khan said it was not until well into the
morning that they ventured outside to enquire, at
which time they beheld fruits from trees in the
yard strewn all about the ground and in the trench
as a result of the powerful explosion.
They said the security experts later came and
collected the fragments.
But even though for weeks before, sporadic events
of harassment were beginning to force some
residents out of the neighbourhood, the Khans are
of the opinion that perhaps nothing could be more
Almost with tears in her eyes, Bibi Fazia recalled
that for almost eleven years she and her family
had occupied a small wooden house on the lot
before they were able to construct the home worth
about $2.5 million which they now occupy. But
sadly, their comfort would probably be short lived
she surmised, since they moved into their new home
around July last year, and almost immediately
their woes began.
She said that on July 6, 2002 thieves entered
their home and robbed the family of over $100,000.
As a result, they were forced to apply heavy grill
to the doors and windows.
Her husband Nazir recalled the good days when
“you coulda walk the road in Vigilance and
Buxton even 10 o’clock in de night without fear
… But not now. As soon as 5.30 you got to lock
up you house tight, tight, and keep inside,” he
The family said that on two occasions, following
the throwing of the explosive device, they were
openly threatened by persons who confronted them
and warned that their home would be bombed. Nazim
said he was threatened around noon on Saturday,
and his wife around 11:00 hours on Sunday.
Ironically, their eldest daughter who previously
lived some distance away in South Vigilance, out
of fear, and after constantly being harassed,
decided to move back home with the family, but she
has now found that even in her parents’ home -
it’s no safe haven from the criminal elements.
The young woman and her husband are now wondering
where next they can go.
Meanwhile, Bibi Fazia’s sister who lives
opposite is so badly traumatized, she too is
putting up her home for sale, as have many of her
neighbours. While some have been able to find
shelter along the East Coast Demerara, others
still have been forced to seek refuge in other
The residents are appealing for a meeting with
President Bharrat Jagdeo, whose intervention they
hope will bring some relief to their plight.
February 18, 2003