Police probing standoff between farmer, “fake” surveyors

Farmer Balam Lagoo

Police are currently investigating claims of a clash between a Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara farmer and “fake” surveyors who visited his farmlands under the pretext of being employees of Guyana Lands and Survey Commission (GLSC).
Farmer, Balam Lagoo in an interview with this publication recounted that on Saturday while he was tending to his land, the two men approached his farm with a tractor and drone claiming they were in the area to do a survey.
Lagoo said he was surprised about the impromptu visit since in most instances when National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) or any other Government agencies are visiting his property they usually notify him or go bearing identification. Suspicious of the men, Lagoo said he then called his father to inquire whether or not he was informed of a visit and his father too was unaware.
According to the man, he continued to ask questions, but the “surveyors” said they would answer no further questions and proceeded to fly their drones in the area.
“I asked them what is the activity here big boy and if anybody give y’all permission or anything to come in this place. This place is a private property. He said he nah got time to listen to me,” Lagoo explained.
In order to intercept the men, Lagoo took their tractor keys and demanded more information about the purpose of their visit. “I say big man you gotta give me some sorta information and I take away de tractor key,” the farmer said.
It was then one of the men allegedly drew his cutlass and chased the farmer. “He pull out a cutlass from de tractor and rush me fuh chop me. Done held up the cutlass about six or seven feet away from me over me head fuh chop me,” Lagoo recounted.
Lagoo said that he then drew his licensed firearm and discharge a round in the air. “Well, I’m a licensed firearm holder, I always have me gun in my pocket when I’m in the field. I barely pop a shot in time or else sometime he woulda strike me and I woulda be a dead man by now,” the farmer recalled. He said that he called the Police, who arrived at the scene and took the men into custody at the Beterverwagting Police Station.
When this publication contacted the Land Administration Officer at the GL&SC, one Hutson (only name given), confirmed that the two men were not employees of the agency but they are customers of the GLSC. “The men are in the process of applying for a piece of the remaining land, they paid their inspection fees and were granted permission by the GLSC to view the land,” Hutson explained.
He further stated that sometime during the 1960s, Lagoo’s father was granted permission to occupy 50 acres of land at the Mon Repos, ECD location pending the approval of his application, which has still not been approved. The remaining 150 acres were to be left unoccupied.
Speaking with this publication, a senior Police officer close to the investigation said that Lagoo was held for discharging his firearm with intent and was placed on bail. “We reported the matter to the DPP and are waiting on more guidance as to how we will proceed with the matter,” the officer said. (G15)