High drama: NBS shuts down during 6-hour standoff with Police

first_img…as Marshals move to execute High Court order…Managers, security guards arrested…bank settles $59M paymentBy Jarryl BryanIt was high drama outside the New Building Society (NBS) as attempts to execute a High Court order on the entity’s properties resulted in a standoff between lawyers, bank officials and the Police.Lawyers for litigant Maurice Arjoon, accompanied by High Court Marshals, descended on New Building Society at noon on Tuesday to levy for a $59 million court awarded judgement. What followed after was a protracted standoff from out of a movie; a Police Officer, a court marshal and civilians were locked in the banking institution.A scene from outside the banking institutionThis situation necessitated the involvement of Deputy Commander of A Division (Georgetown-East Bank Demerara) and Senior Superintendent of Police, Wendell Blanhum, as well as other high-ranking Police ranks. According to Attorney Sanjeev Datadin, who is representing Arjoon, a number of NBS assets were seized leading up to the incident.Security guards being escorted by Police“They took away one of the vehicles… one of the vehicles has already been taken away. And then what happened, I think, the bank closed the doors with everyone that was inside and outside,” he related. “They’ve locked in a lawyer, they’ve locked in a (High Court) marshal, and they’ve locked in a Policeman. And the doors have not reopened; they haven’t allowed anyone in or out.”For more than four hours, the Police were held at bay. During this time, a number of other attorneys including Sase Gunraj and Senior Counsel Ralph Ramkarran arrived at the scene.While junior ranks formed a human cordon around the entrance of the bank, Police Officers managed to gain entry into the building and arrested two internal security officers of the bank for their alleged role in obstructing the order. During this time, a number of civilians remained in the bank, with the Police now able to take statements.Attorney-at-Law Sanjeev Datadin; NBS’s legal representative, Pauline Chase; Senior Counsel Ralph Ramkarran; and Deputy Commander of ‘A’ Division and Senior Superintendent of Police, Wendell Blanhum at the scene of the standoffLocked inAt about 16:45h, a number of NBS staff was allowed to leave the building. Though they all refused to comment, two workmen who were locked in the building related to media operatives that they were prevented from leaving.“The guard man locked the door. When we told him we wanted to (urinate), he said to (urinate) right in there,” one of the workers related. “All the customers and so talking to them and they ain’t want move. They ain’t want open the door,” another staff related.As the standoff wore on, NBS’s legal representative, Pauline Chase, was asked by media operatives about the bank’s actions. She explained that there was an application pending at the time to stay the judgement and as such, the litigants should have delayed their action.NBS acting General Manager Anil Beharry being taken into custodyHowever, after hours of standoff, a cheque to the tune of $59.3 million was made out to Maurice Arjoon; the bank’s dismissed former Chief Executive Officer who took them to court. Several of the bank’s Managers were subsequently arrested and whisked away by Police.The caseThe former CEO took NBS to court for his outstanding pension and other benefits in 2011. Arjoon had originally sued the lending agency for some $550 million in damages.High Court Judge, Justice Brassington Reynolds subsequently ruled in the dismissed CEO’s favour, awarding him more than $79 million in outstanding payments and benefits. The court also ruled that he should be paid a monthly pension of $372,498.The Judge further ordered that the former CEO should receive financial compensation for the damages he had suffered; and moreover, that he was entitled to his pension and severance benefits, in accordance with provisions stipulated in the laws of Guyana.last_img