Political activist Mark Benschop is calling on the police to reopen the investigation into the March 5, 2011 incident in which he was assaulted and his vehicle vandalised by former Presidential Information Liaison Kwame McCoy and his associates.
The attack occurred outside McCoy’s Diamond Housing Scheme, East Bank Demerara home, while Benschop was attempting to take photographs of McCoy’s lavish mansion.
Benschop was forced to flee the scene on foot and seek refuge in a resident’s yard following a scuffle with McKoy, and after attempts were made to take away his camera.
Benschop has repeatedly identified McCoy as the individual who attacked him. Yesterday, he also named former Office of the President employee Jason Abdulla as the individual who made off with a computer and other documents from his damaged vehicle. Benschop estimated his damage and losses as at least $1M.
Despite clear evidence of extensive damage to Benschop’s vehicle, McCoy was neither detained nor charged, though he did give a statement to police.
But it was Benschop who was detained at the Brickdam Police Station lockups, after McCoy alleged that Benschop had damaged a window on his property. He was eventually released on $25,000 station bail. Now, nearly five years after the attack, the Political Activist is hoping that he will finally receive justice, as appears to be the case for columnist Freddie Kissoon who was also allegedly assaulted by McCoy and Abdulla close to six years ago.
“On Thursday, I made contact with the Crime Chief (Wendell Blanhum) concerning reopening the matter,” Benschop said yesterday. “I need to get justice for the damage to my vehicle and for my stolen computer and documents.”
He believes that had the situation been reversed, the police would have had no hesitation in having him charged.
It was on March 5, 2011, that Benschop had visited Diamond New Scheme to take photographs of McCoy’s residence. The Political Activist had stated that he runs an online radio and has a website, and was investigating reports that McCoy was building a house worth $100M, with a swimming pool worth $20M– $30M.
“The public has to know where is it that Kwame McCoy, a low level government employee, was getting all that sort of money from. I am a taxpayer and media personnel, and therefore I am not prohibited from going in front of Kwame’s house and taking a photo.”
He alleged that while he was taking the photographs McCoy drove up and confronted him. According to Benschop, McCoy “charged” into him. He said that two other individuals came from McCoy’s home and tried to take his camera.
According to Benschop, he was forced to flee for safety after the former Presidential Information Liaison and his associates surrounded his vehicle. He eventually returned to discover that the windows of his vehicle were smashed and his computer and other valuables were missing.
A resident, who said he witnessed the attack, had recalled seeing Benschop’s pickup stop near to McCoy’s property.
He said that Benschop began “videoing” the house from the roadway.
The eyewitness alleged that shortly after, McCoy drove up in his vehicle, and Benschop turned the camera on McCoy.
According to the man, McCoy then attempted to snatch the camera.
He alleged that McCoy then exited the vehicle and grabbed Benschop, who wrested himself free and fled the scene on foot.
He told reporters that after Benschop left, McCoy picked up a cement block and smashed the pickup windscreen. McCoy allegedly then entered Benschop’s vehicle and removed a bag and other articles, which were allegedly taken into McCoy’s home.
The eyewitness alleged that two men then came out of the premises with a hammer and smashed the other windows of the pickup.
Kaieteur News was present when Benschop repeatedly pleaded with police ranks, who eventually arrived, to search McCoy’s premises for the items that were taken from his vehicle. However, the ranks made no attempt to search McCoy’s home.
But the eyewitness claimed that after the police and media left the scene, individuals emerged from McCoy’s premises with a bag similar to the one taken from Benschop’s vehicle. The bag was then allegedly handed over to the occupants of a black car, who then drove away.
Mc Coy, Abdulla, and Shawn Hinds are scheduled to appear in court today, in connection with the May 2010 incident, in which feces was thrown into the face of columnist Freddie Kissoon in Robb Street.
The trio, along with O’Kenie Fraser, is also being questioned about the execution-style killing of political activist Courtney Crum-Ewing, who was gunned down in Diamond New Scheme on March 10, 2015.