Two politicians and members of the People’s Partnership (PP) governing coalition are receiving T&T’s highest national award this year.
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Farmer blames tardy cops for friend’s death
Cattle farmer Terry Singh says if Barrackpore police had responded to his pleas on Sunday when his friend Ramraj Ramnarine was shot by a trapgun the father of two would have been alive today. “I begged, I pleaded with them to come with me and help him,” Singh said yesterday as he broke his silence on Sunday’s shooting which claimed his friend’s life. Yesterday Ramnarine, 44, was cremated at the Shore of Peace, Mosquito Creek, La Romaine, after a funeral service at his Manohar Trace, Barrackpore, home. Singh, 32, speaking with the T&T Guardian yesterday, said when he realised Ramnarine was shot he immediately called the Barrackpore police and they told him they could not come.
“They tell me they did not have any vehicle and I even offer to pick them up with my van. They tell me come to the station and I went. “I begging them, I pleading with them to come with me, let me take them to the forest. They ‘ruff’ me up and told me they cannot go with me to sit down right there and I wait for them,” he said. Singh said officers told him they were short-staffed and had to wait for other police officers to come and they told him he had to have to wait for the Emergency Health Services (EHS). “For two hours I waiting in the station. I reach there 6 pm and 8 pm we leave there. All the time Billy (Ramnarine) bleeding in the forest,” he said.
Singh said he and Ramnarine were “really good friends” and believed he would not have died had the police gone into the forest to help him. “I do not know why we had to wait so long. All I was thinking about was why we waiting here, why we not going, my friend in there. I was begging allyuh to come with me. They ‘ruff’ me up and tell me sit down,” Singh added. He said he and Ramnarine went into the forested area to retrieve his five cows which got away from where he had tied them. Ramnarine, he said, was helping him look for the cows when he heard a loud explosion. “I call ‘Billy, Billy.’ I get a frighten. He was not answering. I went to see which part he was and I saw him lying down. “He was not responding and I saw blood around his feet. I get frighten I call Barrackpore police one time and they tell me they do not have any vehicle. I offer them my vehicle to pick them up,” he said.
Singh declined to have his photograph taken because he has been receiving threats and fears for his family’s safety. “I having nightmares. I cannot sleep. I am really traumatised. Plenty people tell me not to talk. I ‘fraid they damage me or my children. I fear for my life. They had already threatened me,” Singh said. He said he was distraught over Ramnarine’s death since they grew up in the same neighbourhood and were always together. Singh said they only went to retrieve the cows after food production officers threatened to kill them because they were eating crops.
He said he never expected that something like that would have happened and since then he was afraid to return to the area to retrieve his cattle. Yesterday Singh peered through a wire fence outside his friend’s house to get a glimpse of Ramnarine in his white casket.
Police believe the trapgun was set to scare the cattle which had been destroying agricultural crops in the area. Police said numerous complaints had been made about the animals.
Yesterday Singh was shunned by some mourners and he stood apart from the funeral proceedings. One of Ramnarine’s relatives remarked that Singh appeared to be enjoying himself as he pointed out Singh was smiling as he stood outside the Ramnarine’s home. Singh, who was questioned by police after Ramnarine’s death, spoke briefly with the T&T Guardian as he stood by the roadside. He said: “Right now, I still really shaken ‘cause it could have been me lying there instead of him.” Singh said also he was questioned by the police and he took them to the forested area where Ramnarine was killed. Yesterday Pastor Randolph Dean, of International Rescue Ministry Church, Barrackpore, called on mourners to love their neighbours “even if they do not like you.” He said he met Ramnarine on three occasions and found him to have an honest heart and a helpful personality. Dean said the last time he met Ramnarine, some months ago, he told him he wanted to do a thanksgiving and he said would call him (Dean) when he was ready. “But today we are here doing a different kind of thanksgiving,” Dean lamented. Ramnarine’s wife, Asha Haribhajan, hugged her son, Josiah, as she sobbed next to her husband’s casket. As tears rolled down his cheeks, Josiah, five, placed a flower on his father’s casket. Dean reminded mourners that the choices they make would determine their future and where they ended up after death. “You do not hold your life in your hands. The only thing you hold in your hands is choices,” he said.
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