Forty-two-year-old businessman Chevalle Ramjattan, described by those who knew him as a “good human being”, was shot dead on Tuesday night.
It was one of five killings from Tuesday night into yesterday, taking the murder toll to 176. The figure for last year was 160.
Ramjattan, of Adam Street in Tacarigua, was the proprietor of Pills and Potions Pharmacy, located along the Aranjuez Main Road.
Police said that Ramjattan had just closed the pharmacy about 8.40 p.m. and had entered his Suzuki Swift motor car with his wife when he was shot dead.
His wife told police she heard gunshots, and then her husband cried out in pain.
She then saw him slumped against the steering wheel of the car.
She raised an alarm and sought the assistance of an off-duty police officer, PC Hosein, who was nearby at the time.
Ramjattan was placed in the back seat of the vehicle and they attempted to take him to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex in Mt Hope.
While en route, they observed an ambulance parked at the side of the roadway.
They stopped and sought assistance, and EMT Churaman provided preliminary treatment and advice, and transported Ramjattan to the medical complex where he died of his injuries about 9.22 p.m.
A team of officers from the North Eastern Division and the Homicide Bureau responded and visited the scene of the shooting.
The Divisional CSI team recovered four spent .45mm shell casings on the ground, as well as two projectiles in the vehicle.
PC Thomas is continuing enquiries.
‘Kind and decent soul’
When the Express visited the Pills and Potions Pharmacy yesterday, it was closed for business.
However, the owner of the premises described Ramjattan as a “kind and decent soul” whose death had left the community in shock.
“He’s been here just under two years. He’s a great tenant of mine. A very good person. He’s always polite and humble. Everything you can think of a good human being, he was that,” the landlord said.
The owner, who only gave his name as Mahadeo, said he was at home when the shooting took place.
“I heard the shots ’cause I live close by. I was doing a devotion at home and I heard the shots. I continued my prayer and then I was told someone heard screaming coming from the compound. So I dropped everything and came here.
“When I arrived, there was one police vehicle and they ask me what happened, and I told them I literally just got here and came to see what happened. I asked one of the guys who was here, and he tried to explain to me but his English is not 100 per cent. He told us what happened, and then we later found out that Mr Ramjattan had died.
“This is the first time anything like this has happened and I’m operating here since 2010. We need better policing, not only in Aranjuez but throughout T&T. We need police officers who would look out and protect and serve the citizens of T&T.
“I don’t even mind giving up a unit here to have a mobile station in my compound. This is what I am willing to do for my community, for my country,” Mahadeo said.
He also called for more police patrols throughout the area, and the country as a whole.
“It’s very unfair for these criminals, with the little you making, to come and take it. That is not right,” Mahadeo said.
Extortion threats in Aranjuez
While Mahadeo said he was unaware of any threats against Ramjattan or any extortion attempts, other people in the compound said they knew there were businesses being threatened with extortion in the Aranjuez community.
However, they could not say if that was the reason Ramjattan was shot.
The Sunday Express this week reported that over the last few months, there have been reports of extortion throughout various communities throughout Trinidad and Tobago.
Criminal elements would allegedly confront business owners for “protection” to not be targeted on a bi-weekly and monthly basis.
Security officials told the Sunday Express that some of the figures they had been informed about were that some businesses were being forced to pay between $5,000 and $10,000 to criminal elements.
Business owners have even allegedly been made to pay up to $20,000, under threats of future harm.
Some of these reports have been made in the Central Division, as well as the Northern Division.
However, most victims are afraid to go to the police out of fear of being targeted.