NATION

Debbie Singh Recounts Robbery Experience

It was December 21, 2019, Debbie Singh and her 18-year-old daugh­ter, Kushil McPherson, were re­turning to their car parked opposite Damodar City in Suva when they were attacked. It is
31 Dec 2019 10:35
Debbie Singh Recounts Robbery Experience
Singh and her 18-year-old daughter Kushil McPherson.

It was December 21, 2019, Debbie Singh and her 18-year-old daugh­ter, Kushil McPherson, were re­turning to their car parked opposite Damodar City in Suva when they were attacked.

It is a day neither of them will forget.

They had always parked their vehicle in Varani Street off Grantham Road, but that day was unlike any other.

It was after 6.30pm, the mother and daughter had gone to do some shop­ping after a church service at the Catholic Church in the city.

The two had done their shopping and were returning to their car.

Two men appeared out of nowhere.

The first one grabbed the handbag off Debbie’s shoulder and ran towards Varani Street.

“As soon as that happened, I started shouting, that someone had stolen my bag and I ran after this man,” Ms Singh said.

“I kept shouting and running. What was surprising to me was that people came out of their houses, and stood inside their gates, but no one came out to help.”

Ms Singh said she was halfway up the street when she looked back at her daughter. She was nowhere to be seen.

“So I ran back to find that Kushil was being dragged by her hand on the road. The other man had grabbed the bag Kushil had and was trying to nudge it off her while she would not let go,” she recalled.

“But before I could reach my daugh­ter, the man had successfully grabbed her bag and run away as well.”

Ms Singh said people in Varani Street stood and watched. She said her daughter was injured and it took them 45 minutes to stop a taxi.

“What has become of Fiji? I grew up in Fiji where a neighbour helps a neighbour. This was something I had to experience to realise how people have changed,” she said.

“The first taxi that stopped was full. I told the driver and the passengers what had happened, they just stared at me.

“It was getting dark and no one had come to help us. Our phones, keys and money was taken. None of the people in Varani Street even cared to give their phone to us to call for help.”

It was a taxi driver, a young man by the name of Saiyad who stopped to help to Debbie and Kushil. The driv­er gave the mother and daughter his phone for them to use and then took them to Ms Singh’s cousin’s place.

From there after, Saiyad returned with Ms Singh and Kushil to the scene of crime and waited for an hour for the Police to come.

Ms Singh said the irony of the situ­ation was that while the whole world was beaming out Christian messages as the countdown to Christmas had begun, it was a non-Christian person who had helped them.

Ms Singh said Saiyad did not even ask for money or take any when it was offered to him.

She said she was also grateful for the helpful nature of the Police officers at the Raiwaqa Police Station.

“We managed to identify one of the attackers. The one that took the bag from my daughter. And I hope he is ar­rested soon,” she said.

“It was quite an ordeal especially for Kushil. The attacker had nearly dislo­cated her shoulder. And I have always raised my daughter in a way that no one even speaks with her in a harsh voice.

“She was really traumatised. I lat­er found out that she had bought a Christmas gift for me and was keep­ing it in her bag and that was why she was not letting go of her bag. I have told her that next time that happens, let the bag go.”

Ms Singh said it was surprising that no one came to help them. For her Fiji was a place where people cared for people and every one helped every one.

She said the change where people only care for themselves was becom­ing more evident. She wanted people to know what she had gone through so they could be aware.

There have been break-ins of vehicles parked at Varani Street and Telau Street. According to people in­terviewed, these were done by youths moving in groups of two and fours.

Varani Street along Laucala Bay in Suva. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

Varani Street along Laucala Bay in Suva. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

While the Police are doing the best they can, there is a serious need from the community to do their bit in the fight against such crimes.

If Ms Singh and her daughter had been helped by a neighbour, the two men would have been apprehended and their belongings would have been recovered.

Similar incidents have happened in public and people have chosen to turn a blind eye. Perhaps the way to com­bat this type of crime is by being more than a keyboard warrior, by having the courage to help someone in need.

Feedback: shalveen.chand@fijisun.com.fj

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