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Cattle farmer killed by trap gun

By CECILY ASSON Tuesday, April 22 2014

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Wife, son mourn: Asha Harrybhajan and her son Josiah Ramnarine mourns the death of her husband Ramraj Ramnarine at their home in Barrackpore yesterday...
Wife, son mourn: Asha Harrybhajan and her son Josiah Ramnarine mourns the death of her husband Ramraj Ramnarine at their home in Barrackpore yesterday...

A CATTLE farmer has been killed in the Barrackpore forest by a trap gun in circumstances which police are investigating to be an act of wanton violation of Government’s two-year ban on hunting.

Police have retrieved three trap guns from a forested area off Oropouche South Road, where cattle farmer Ramraj Ramnarine, 41, was shot dead at about 6 pm on Easter Sunday.

Ramnarine, who would have celebrated his 42nd birthday tomorrow, lived with his wife Asha Harrybhajan and five-year-old son, Josiah Ramnarine, at Manohar Trace, Rochard Road, Barrackpore.

Yesterday, Crime Scene Investigators (CSI) returned to the forest where Ramnarine was killed to assist police probing the death. In September last year, Minister of the Environment and Water Resources Ganga Singh announced a two-year ban on hunting to replenish the population of wild animals. Apart from the illegal act of hunting, it has always been an offence to set trap guns which is in violation of the Conservation of Wildlife Act as well as contrary to general criminal law.

A police report stated that it was at about 4 pm, on Sunday, when Ramnarine left his home to round-up cattle which he had been tending to in the forest. The cattle went astray deep into the forest and Ramnarine sought the assistance of his friend, Terry Singh, 32, to find them. At about 6 pm, tragedy struck when, according to Singh’s report to the police, he heard a loud explosion.

When Singh rushed towards Ramnarine, he found him lying on the ground bleeding from wounds to the back.

Singh walked out of the forest and went to the Barrackpore police station and reported the matter. Police officers visited the scene and found Ramnarine on the ground, with rope tied in a lasso across his shoulder. The lasso was to harness the cattle.

Ramnarine was pronounced dead by the District Medical Officer and the body was removed to the Forensic Science Centre, St James, for an autopsy today.

The police report stated that following the incident, officers searched the area for the weapon and seized remnants of a trap gun which they believed Ramnarine stepped on resulting in his death. They also stumbled upon other trap guns. A trap gun is a makeshift apparatus using a rat-trap as the trigger, a piece of steel pipe and nylon which is placed across the pathway of any moving object. A senior police officer expressed alarm that were it not for the officers alertness at the area where Ramnarine was shot, one of them could have been killed.

Yesterday, Ramnarine’s grieving wife, Harrybhajan, 31, said she was still in shock. Ramnarine was affectionately called ‘Billy’ and ‘Sham Boy’, she said.

Harrybhajan said: “I (am) accustomed to him going in the forest. This is what he does for a living and the cattle always running wild and he and Jerry would go to check on them and make sure everything was okay with them. It harder for me now, because Josiah asking for him.” She said that it was at about 10 pm on Sunday when two police officers, in the company of Singh, arrived at her home. “One of the police officers told me something very bad had happened,” Harrybhajan said. “They tell me to come to the station. I wasn’t even thinking anything like that even when they asked me if I had somewhere to leave my son.”

Together with a neighbour, Karen Rampersad, Harrybhajan went to the station only to be told the tragic news. She recalled Ramnarine was still mourning the death of his brother last year. She never believed her husband would have met his death going after cattle that went astray in the forest.

The woman said before leaving home at 4 pm on Sunday, Josiah had asked his father what time he would return.

“You know he told him he didn’t know what time he was coming home. Look what happen, he never came back to us and Josiah still here telling me that his daddy coming home just now with ice-cream for him. I didn’t think he would be dead on a day like Easter Sunday,” Harrybhajan said. ASP Gaffar, Sgt Francois, Sgt Richardson and Cpl Richardson are continuing investigations.

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