An incident involving the use of a cutlass by a local businessman against a citizen of the United States has gone viral on Social Media.
THE NEW TODAY understands that the incident involving Byron Griffith of Mt. Moritz and Hati Asghar, the owner of New York Bagels happened about a month ago and that members of the Criminal Investigation Department of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) had obtained a video-recording within hours of it taking place.
After weeks of investigation, Griffith was eventually arrested and charged by police with causing harm and was placed on $20,000 bail.
The accused is due to appear in court on September 30.
The video showed Asghar being manhandled at Romel’s Transmission Garage at Mt. Gay, just outside the city, by Griffith who is the brother of the owner of the business.
The American businessman told police that he took his vehicle to be repaired at the garage and paid them initially $1200.00 which eventually went up to $2500.00 on the grounds that additional work had to be done.
According to Asghar, he had to return the vehicle to the garage on more than one occasion as the Transmission kept leaking fluid.
The U.S citizen said that when the vehicle was finally returned to him, he went to test drive it and was not satisfied with the performance and wanted back the cheque that he paid with.
He said that Romel’s brother whom he identified by name ordered him to leave the compound with a cutlass in hand but instead held onto him and marched him up to a step into the office to pay the cashier for the work done.
Asghar’s assistant manager Nadeem Hassain who had accompanied him to the garage did videotape the encounter.
The American business operator told lawmen that he had in his bag cash amounting to $11, 170.00 and he took out $2,500 in cash to pay them as was BEING demanded.
He also said that $8, 670 was missing from his bag at the end of the ordeal.
When asked if he believes that he was robbed at the said garage, he said: “Yes.”
Asghar also gave THE NEW TODAY an account of the incident: “When I reached the transmission shop I did talk to Romel and explain to him that the transmission is leaking, I need a converter change and I changed everything else.
He told me twelve hundred to fix it. I said ok. After a few days I got a call from him that the vehicle was ready. When I went to pick up he said two thousand. I (said) – we agreed on twelve hundred, why two thousand?
He said that he did some extra work and I said you must inform me and get my consent before going forward. I want to get my delivery vehicle quickly because I rented a vehicle for deliveries. I gave him a cheque for two thousand and his cashier gave me a receipt.
I asked my driver to test drive the vehicle. He drove the vehicle and found out that transmission was leaking more. I showed it to Romel, he said, leave the vehicle and I will fix it.
I gave them the receipt back and took my cheque of two thousand dollars back. A few days later I received a call that the vehicle was ready for pickup. In the morning I went there and told Romel I am here to pick up the vehicle, he said two thousand five hundred.
I was upset – same problem to fix and every time is different price – cost of fixing the same thing, the leaks. I had no choice other than to pay him. I wanted to give the same cheque that I gave them last week, they said twenty five hundred but no cheque – cash only.
I said you should tell me first because last week, you accepted the cheque and why not this time? I went to Grand Anse to my office and took money. We went there, showed the money and asked for us to test drive the vehicle.
I saw many people there with cutlasses – one red skin individual was sharpening the cutlass. Romel said no test drive, take it and pay twenty five hundred. I said – how can I pay without making sure that the leak is fixed because last week and week before, it had the same problem.
He called his brother and told him to deal with them. He attacked me from behind, grabbed my bag, took money from the bag and started pushing me and beating me towards the office.
I had twenty five hundred in my hand that I had separated from the cash I had and the rest I put in the bag. Many times the man put a cutlass on my head and said, “I am chopping your head”.
I did not say anything then he put a cutlass on my neck and said, “you will go soon”. He forced me to the office, locked me inside, pushed my driver out and tried to chop my hand.
I paid the cashier, he pushed me out with the cutlass as well as beating me and cursing me all kinds of bad words. I went to CID to report them.”
THE NEW TODAY understands that Asghar had a licensed firearm in his bag and did not pull it out in his defense while being attacked.
When contacted for comment on the incident, Byron Griffith was reluctant to go into details except to say that Asghar ventured into an area on the compound that was reserved only for employees and not customers.
The famous New York Bagels fast food chain has branches on Wall Street in the south of the island and at the Cruise Ship terminal in the city.