While mas lovers favoured the modern and earth mas over the traditional aspect in San Fernando J’Ouvert celebrations, many observers felt this year’s presentations lacked creativity.
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Couple found dead at Creek
Facing homelessness after losing his house in a vicious court battle, cancer victim Donald Ragoo drove through the rain to the western coastline’s Mosquito Creek, where he shot dead his common-law wife Pamela Maharaj and then turned the gun on himself. Although police were treating the double death as a murder suicide, relatives believe Maharaj, 40, and Ragoo, 58, of Southern Main Road, Claxton Bay, made a suicide pact.
Before their bodies were discovered around 5 pm, Ragoo had called his brother Dhanraj and told him to come and find his body at Mosquito Creek, La Romaine. Both Maharaj and Ragoo were found lying face up next to each other along the stony shoreline of the Gulf of Paria. A 9mm semi automatic pistol was found between the bodies. Both were shot in the head. The couple’s black single cab pickup was parked nearby.
Maharaj’s sister, Anika, said 20 minutes before the bodies were found she also received a call from Maharaj telling her to come to the creek. “I did not expect to find her dead. We called the police and when we got here we saw the van and both of them were lying on the ground dead,” Anika said in a shaky voice. Anika said Maharaj loved Ragoo and had lived with him for the past 11 years.
“They were very happy together and last year Donald found out that he had cancer in his colon and rectum,” Anika said. She added that Ragoo was very depressed and this was heightened when he lost his home in a court battle with his former in-laws two weeks ago.
Police said Ragoo was the owner of the Sea Queen Restaurant and Bar at Southern Main Road, Claxton Bay.
But Anika said he was joint owner of the bar with his first wife and since her death there had been a legal fight for ownership of the property, a fight which Ragoo only recently lost. “He built that house from scratch and when he lost the case he was very sad. He was told that he had to leave the house. They did not have anywhere to go. They were really happy together but I never saw him as suicidal,” Anika said. Ragoo’s nephew Baldath Ragoo said the couple did not have a tumultuous relationship.
“They were happy together. We had ramayan on Wednesday and both of them came. We sat down and talked. They did not appear to have problems,” Baldath said. The initial investigation of the killings caused a heavy traffic pileup along the South Trunk Road as forensic specialists and crime scene investigators searched for clues.
Officers led by Senior Supt Cecil Santana, Supt James and Sgt Maharaj of the Southern Division Homicide visited the scene. Both bodies were removed to the Forensic Science Centre, St James, where autopsies will be done on Monday.
Investigations are continuing.
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