Maria van Beek.
relatives at the Woodlands
Hospital yesterday morning
Insurance Maria van Beek narrowly
survived a brazen attempt on her life at around
08:15 hrs yesterday, after she was shot by a gunman
while driving her car along Lombard Street in
Van Beek, who is also the Judicial Manager for CLICO,
was shot in the
chest as she drove in heavy traffic
during a downpour.
Just to get rid of a 'bogus'
insurance claim in the court
Eyewitnesses said that the gunman struck in the
vicinity of Lombard and Leopold Streets, standing in
front on van Beek’s car before firing a bullet
into her right front window.
An eyewitness told Kaieteur News
that the gunman then walked calmly into Leopold
Street, where he and an accomplice escaped on a
Honda CG motorcycle.
The injured woman managed to drive
to Mohamed’s Enterprises
on Lombard Street, where she sought assistance
from staff who drove her to the Woodlands Hospital
in Carmichael Street, where she underwent emergency
A physician at the hospital said that the bullet
missed van Beek’s heart by about five inches, but
listed her condition as stable.
From all reports, the gunman and his accomplice made
no attempt to relieve van Beek of any of her
A police statement also indicated that no attempt
was made to rob van Beek, and said that patrols were
dispatched to the scene after the shooting.
Roadblocks were also laid out and several searches
carried out as the police continue their efforts to
locate the two suspects.
Van Beek’s car was taken to the Privatisation Unit
in Kingston after detectives had checked it for
prints and other forensic evidence.
Ameer Mohamed, manager of Mohamed’s Enterprises,
told Kaieteur News that he was at his premises when
he heard a loud gunshot.
He said that they then heard someone screaming and
shortly after a woman,
later identified as van Beek, drove up to his store
and began screaming for help, repeatedly asking them
to call the police. He recalled that she was
bleeding profusely from a wound to her upper body.
According to Mohamed, one of his employees
recognized the injured woman and instructed her to
go into the back seat.
Mohamed said that his security personnel cordoned
off the area to protect van Beek. They then
contacted the police before one of them took her to
the Woodlands Hospital in her car.
“She was bleeding heavily, and we gave her a
handkerchief to press to the wound. She was saying
she didn’t know who could have done it.”
A Lombard Street resident told Kaieteur News that he
was in the vicinity of Leopold Street when he heard
He said that a man, dressed in a cap, sweater and
three-quarter trousers, walked ‘calmly’ from
Lombard into Leopold Street.
According to the eyewitness, the man, who had one
hand concealed under his sweater, was short and of
Van Beek has been actively involved in matters
related to the CLICO financial scandal and her
sister, Deon Fries, indicated that she believed the
shooting was linked to the contentious issue, but
could not understand why her sister, in her role,
was a target.
She described the attempt on her sister’s life as
“an eye opener for the entire family”, adding
that security arrangements will now be put in place
to prevent any further attack.
“You live in Guyana, you get up and go to work as
normal, you really don’t think that someone is
going to come and shoot you,” Fries said.
Fries stressed that although van Beek was
integrally involved in the CLICO issue, she was not
personally responsible for the debacle that the
company finds itself in.
She suggested that the anger stemming from the
substantial loss that persons may suffer as result
of the state that CLICO finds itself in should be
directed to the top brass of the parent company, CL
“People need to fly to Trinidad…She’s just
acting on behalf of the government to try and sort
the problem out. She’s not personally responsible
for what’s going on.”
A Government statement expressed “greatest
concern” at the “dastardly attempt” on van
“The administration finds it incomprehensible that
any sane mind would stoop to such an act that would
seem to have an intention of frustrating the work
Mrs. van Beek is doing as the Commissioner of
Insurance,” the statement said.
“The administration condemns this act in the
severest manner possible and wishes Mrs. van Beek a
“Regarding the work that she is doing as
Judicial Manager of CLICO (Guyana), the Government
of Guyana continues to stand firmly by its
commitment to protect the interest of the policy
owners of the company.”
It added that police have commenced investigations
into the shooting and Commissioner Henry Greene has
indicated that no stone will be left unturned during
Also reacting to the attack, a statement from the
People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) said that
“whether it was an attempted robbery or for other
reasons, the Party unreservedly condemns this
criminal act and would urge the Commissioner of
Police and the Jagdeo Administration to act with
dispatch to ensure that the perpetrator(s) are
caught and placed before the courts.”
“The Party has learnt, with some relief, that Ms.
van Beek is in a stable condition in a hospital in
Georgetown. The PNCR wishes her a speedy and full
And the Alliance For Change stated that the party
“condemns without reservation this violent attack
on an innocent citizen and hopes that the
perpetuators are brought to justice.”
Van Beek was appointed Judicial Manager of CLICO
(Guyana) on February 25 last and was tasked with
assessing the entity’s financial position.
On Tuesday last she presented her report to the High
Court, declaring the company insolvent, adding that
in a worst-case scenario the company’s liability
outweighed its assets by some US$60M.
April 17, 2009