Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi and the PNM Government should pursue the kidnapping cases of Debe resident Ria Sookdeo and San Fernando designer Kirby Mohammed with the same “exuberance” they employed to find Palmiste resident Natalie Pollonais, says UNC Senator Gerald Ramdeen.
“Those people are entitled to the same protection and the same rights and privileges as every other citizen of T&T,” Ramdeen said in the Senate yesterday, also calling for attention to the families of Sookdeo and Mohammed.
Sookdeo was reportedly kidnapped by people in police uniform two years ago near Diamond Village. This case was similar to that of Pollonais’ kidnapping last week.
Mohammed meanwhile, was last seen in February 2015 and his family was subsequently threatened to pay up.
Ramdeen spoke on the issue during debate on amendments to a number of laws designed to increase local judges from 49 to 64 yesterday.
He said despite $26 billion spent on National Security in three years and legislative agendas he wasn’t hopeful the current proposed legislation would bring relief in the justice system since it only dealt with the end-product of the situation. He said the proposal wasn’t needed “...if you ent catching people.”
Ramdeen noted increasing crime, with murders up 13 per cent over 2017 to 2018, rape/incest (up 29 per cent) and serious crimes (50 per cent).
He noted kidnapping had risen 32 per cent and kidnapping for ransom, 133 per cent, though robberies, narcotics and firearms crimes were at lower levels.
He said September 28 marks four months since proclamation of the Anti-Gang law, yet no one had been arrested on that basis.
Ramdeen noted the recent press briefing held by the Police Commissioner and National Security Minister citing the police’s good work on finding Pollonais.
Saying everyone was overjoyed she was found, Ramdeen added: “But September 29 will mark two years Ria Sookdeo was kidnapped.”
But Al-Rawi interjected saying: “We have leads on that.”
Ramdeen continued: “I’m happy to hear that. But I’d ask the Attorney General to do this: with the same exuberance he announced for Ms Natalie Pollonais.
“When the PNM goes to San Fernando City Hall (last night), they should meet Ms Linda Mohammed, the mother of Kirby Mohammed and tell her that the same exuberance they used to get back Natalie Pollonais, they’ll use to get some kind of relief to get back Kirby Mohammed and they’ll give some kind of closure to that family.”
Ramdeen noted Al-Rawi’s statement that this was “his constituent” and he’d gone to the family. Ramdeen said the country didn’t know that.
Ramdeen added, “The way T&T will know you’re doing your job, just as it was important for you to have the press conference with Gary (Griffith) and the National Security Minister (on Pollonais), it’s important for the country to know what you’re doing for the people you don’t find also.
“It’s important for the country to know the law enforcement agencies are continuing work on these cold cases so people will have confidence those cases haven’t been forgotten—I haven’t heard Ria Sookdeo’s father say anyone has come to meet him on the matter.”
Al-Rawi interjected, “That’s Kamla’s style...”
Ramdeen replied: “Kamla isn’t in Government because they voted for you all to provide relief.
“After three years you’ve been an abominable failure on national security. So we don’t want to hear about Kamla. We want to hear about you; you control all the national security apparatus—take responsibility when you fail.”