Tuesday, September 22, 1998

Drug lord out the country,
DEA on alert


Deochand Ramdhanie

ESCAPED drug lord Deochand Ramdhanie has fled the country.

This was confirmed last night by a senior officer of the Organised Crime and Narcotics Unit (OCNU).

"We received information from a reliable source yesterday that Ramdhanie has left the country."
OCNU sources say Ramdhanie may have fled to Grenada where it is believed one of his major drug cohorts exist. Investigators have not, however, ruled out the possibilty of him being in Venezuela or the US either.

Ramdhanie, who had been serving a life sentence along with his father Mantoor Ramdhanie and two others for drug trafficking, escaped from the Princes Town Magistrates' Court last Thursday after allegedly knocking over a policeman and walking out the court's gate.

"We have information on the same day he escaped, he left the country. We know this escape was well organised. But we are still not clear on where he might have gone," said the OCNU source.

The policeman who was knocked over has since gone on seven days' sick leave and up to late yesterday he could not be found.

Officials of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in the United States and Interpol have been alerted.


South cops get
transfer order

By JOEL NANTON and DARRYL HEERALAL

NEARLY a dozen senior and junior policemen were transferred from the police southern division yesterday following the escape of convicted drug lord, Deochand Ramdhanie.

This was confirmed by Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of crime John Grant who also submitted an interim report on the incident to Police Commissioner Hilton Guy .

Guy had mandated Grant to investigate the circumstances surrounding Ramdhanie's "breakout".

Ramdhanie, who was serving a life sentence for drug trafficking, walked out of the holding bay at the Princes Town Magistrates Court last Thursday.

Ten officers, both senior and junior, from most ranks were moved out of the southern division.
They have been sent to various other police stations throughout the country
Assistant Commissioner of Police Thomas Billy, received a list of names of the officers who were transferred, at his south office around 10.30 a.m..

This followed a police executive meeting Guy held at the Police Administration Building, Port of Spain.

The transfers took effect immediately.

But the directives did not go down well with all the south officers.

A senior policeman who was moved to Port of Spain said he was not told why he was being transferred adding that he hoped it was not linked to Ramdhanie's escape.

"If I find out it is I will take action," he told the Express.

Another senior officer who objected had his transfer delayed by 14 days.

Grant refused to disclose his findings saying that there was "a lot more" investigation to be done.

Caribs upset after
meeting with PM aborted


President of the Carib Community Richard Bharat (centre) addresses the media conference on Sunday at the Carib Centre, Arima. Others in photo are Miami Carib Queen Catherine Ramirez and Cristo Adonis. Photo: TREVOR BURNETT

By TREVOR BURNETT

IN A rare news conference, the Carib community of Arima, led by Councillor Ricardo Bharat, voiced dissatisfaction on Sunday over an aborted meeting with Prime Minister Basdeo Panday previously scheduled for between September 25-26.

Bharat, speaking at the Carib Centre in Arima, said the Prime Minister declined to meet the community during his tour of the Arima constituency.

Bharat said: "The Carib community wants to make it abundantly clear to the national community that it is not being discourteous to the Prime Minister.

"But it is the train of events which have brought us to where we are."

Bharat said he received a telephone call from one of the members of the organising committee for the Prime Minister's visit to the Borough of Arima asking the Carib community to host "the Honourable Prime Minister, to which we readily agreed".

He added: "This telephone call was followed by another phone call from the MP of Arima, Dr Rupert Griffith, who expressed some concerns that he had.

"I gave the assurance to Dr Griffith that once the community agrees to accommodate a visit by the Prime Minister, that all measures would be put in place to ensure a successful visit.

"These calls were followed by a visit of three members of the organising committee at which time this programme was discussed.

"Everything was agreed to with the exception of the political slant the organising committee wanted to inject into the visit.

"One of the members of the organising committee said he would get back to me on the subject.
"About four days later I received a call informing me that the Prime Minister's visit to the Carib community was off, the reason being politics."

Bharat said the Carib community would have used the opportunity of the Prime Minister's visit to raise several concerns, including "the financial assistance given to our community for the upkeep of the Santa Rosa Festival".

He noted: "We have just celebrated 239 years of Santa Rosa Festivals, which is the oldest continuous festival in Trinidad and Tobago."

Bharat said the recent festival had left the community in debt and "to this day we have not received our annual $30,000 subvention from the Ministry of Community Development, in spite of providing audited statements and an annual report.

"The Ministry of Community Development told us they got no releases from the Ministry of Finance, yet we see on the newspapers where the Ministry is funding other groups with their subventions."

Bharat called on the Minister of Culture to look into the matter urgently.


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