Ancestral land dispute turns violent in Berbice

first_img– Police summoned but failed to arrest situationRuth Semple and her husband Horatio Edmondson – the alleged owner of a disputed farming land – were allegedly attacked by angry residents armed with cutlasses and other implements whiles in the presence of Police, who apparently out of fear, did nothing to arrest the situation.Damages to the vehicle the Attorney and his wife escaped inGuyana Times understands that Edmondson, an Attorney, is in possession of 500 acres of farming land at Ithaca, much to the dismay of the villagers there, who are claiming that the lands are ancestral lands which belongs to them.This publication was informed that Edmondson is in the process to transferring the land in his name. This matter is currently before the court and can’t be addressed further, since it’s sub judice.However, it was reported that about three weeks ago, the villagers went into the farming land and destroyed the farm in the presence of Semple. She subsequently went to court and got an injunction forbidding 13 persons, whom she identified, from accessing the lands and preventing her from gaining access.On Sunday, Semple in the company of her husband, an evaluator and Police Officers went back to the farm to access the damage. The farm is located in the backdam and could only be accessed via crossing a bridge. After accessing the damage and on their way out of the farm lands, they discovered that the bridge was destroyed by angry villagers who had gathered and were armed with cutlasses and wooden planks.“When we were going over back, the bridge from Ithaca some villagers destroyed it; that is the Government’s property, they destroyed it.We were on the other side and couldn’t get over. We had to put back the things on the bridge and then we cross. Then further up they block the road so we and the Police couldn’t pass and the Police call the Commander,” Semple related.Assistant Commissioner Ian Amsterdam who commands B Division (Berbice), led a party of Police Officers from New Amsterdam into Ithaca but was not able to keep the peace. Semple said that the Commander first met with the angry mob but after not being able to get through to them, he instructed his officers to clear the roadway.His wife highlighted that while they were in the thick of the mob, two of their vehicles were upturned and thrown into a trench; inside of one of the vehicles was Edmondson’s appointment book. According to him, now he does not know which court he is expected to be at, on what day and who are some of the clients he is expected to represent.Edmondson then related that the persons with him consolidated in the back of a pick-up and were being escorted out by the Police when he was attacked by one of the villagers and hit in the head. He said at the time, they were instructed to drive as close as possible behind the Police vehicle. According to Edmondson, after being hit in the head, he lost consciousness momentarily. He later sought medical attention at the New Amsterdam Hospital. On Monday, he was still recovering from his injuries and up to Tuesday, had not returned to work.Edmondson says several of the ringleaders were persons who were served with the injunction.The villagers are contending that the 500 acres of land which Edmondson occupies is ancestral land and belongs to them. According to reports reaching this newspaper, the angry villagers are contending that none of Semple’s foreparents planted the land.Meanwhile, no one has been arrested for the assault and damage to property.last_img

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