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Man gunned down picking flowers

By KEN CHEE HING Saturday, January 14 2012

RAKESH “CHANNAS” RAMDAWAR was a devoted Hindu who, like clockwork every morning, would pick “genda” (marigold flowers) to offer during morning prayers at the family temple outside his Frederick Settlement, Caroni home.

Yesterday, Black Friday, as he stood at the side of Arbuckle Road, three minute’s walk from his home, picking the flowers, a man walked up to Ramdawar and shot him three times at point blank range — once at the back of the head, once in the chest and once on his right hand, with the bullet ripping off two fingers. Ramdawar died instantly.

His wife of 13 years, Alana Ramdawar, 29, screamed yesterday as she was held back by relatives behind the yellow “police” tape cordoning off the crime scene where policemen and crime scene experts searched for evidence near Ramdawar’s body which lay on a dirt embankment at the side of the road.

“Oh God, oh God...why they take my baby? Why? Baby, they kill you as you picked flowers! Why they do you that?” Alana wailed as she was consoled by relatives, some of whom were also crying.

A female relative rubbed Alcolado (a menthol rub) on Alana’s head and tried to calm the weeping widow.

As undertakers turned Ramdawar’s body over, revealing the bullet hole at the back of his head from which blood still seeped, Alana started to scream again. She fought with those who held her as she tried to get to the body of her husband.

“Let me go! I want to see him! Where the flowers? Baby come nah, get up. Get the flowers. Get up baby,” she cried. Policemen moved in, urging relatives to take Alana away. A chair was brought and Alana sat on it, sobbing as she watched undertakers place the body of her husband inside a white body bag.

When Superintendent Johnnie Abraham handed over a plastic bag with the jewelry which Ramdawar was wearing at the time of the shooting, to his sister Lolita, Alana wailed even louder. “That is all I have of my husband now...his jewelry,” Alana cried as Lolita stared at the jewelry inside the bag. Relatives of the dead man told Newsday that, at about 9 am, Ramdawar left home to pick flowers.

His last words to them were, “I going for the flowers.” He walked past the temple towards the road. Minutes later, loud explosions rang out.

“My son heard the gunshots and went to investigate. It was he who came back and said that Rakesh was lying in the drain near the flowers and bleeding. He said Rakesh was not moving,” stated a female relative who did not give her name.

Ramdawar’s sister, Lolita, said that her brother was a devoted Hindu and a devoted family man, who although he had no children with his wife was nevertheless devoted to his entire family.

“You see what they do, it is absolute wickedness to kill my brother. They wicked...whoever did this,” Lolita said.

Police officers at the scene said they had no motive for the killing but said Ramdawar was well-known to them and was a suspect in the Boxing Day murder of Angil “Beast” Bhagwandass, 39, of Knaggs Street, Frederick Settlement, Caroni.

However, he was never arrested or questioned in connection with this murder. His relatives insisted that he was a humble farmer who worked hard and legitimately for whatever he had and was not involved in a life of crime. Several female relatives admonished reporters at the scene telling them to write the truth about Ramdawar.

Ramdawar’s sister Cindy said she did not know why someone would want to kill her brother, and in such a violent manner. “I just don’t know,” was all she could say.

Police sources said that judging from the large bullet wounds, they suspect that a large calibre weapon, possibly a Magnum .357 revolver was used. “They wanted this man dead, that’s for sure,” said an officer at the scene.

The body was later removed from the scene to the Forensic Science Centre in St James where up to yesterday afternoon, efforts were being made for an autopsy to officially ascertain cause of death. Police sources said that no arrest has been made and Central Division CID detectives, under supervision of Supt Abraham, were continuing investigations. Ramdawar’s killing was the 13th murder recorded for 2012.

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