Penal man freed after 'working for drug dealers'

Shane Ramjattan recounts his ordeal at his Rochard Road, Penal, home, on Saturday afternoon.
Shane Ramjattan recounts his ordeal at his Rochard Road, Penal, home, on Saturday afternoon. PHOTO BY MARVIN HAMILTON - Marvin Hamilton

A Penal man who disappeared for three days claimed he was kidnapped by Spanish-speaking men robbed, beaten and forced to work in a camp in the forest of Moruga cleaning high-powered machine guns and packing large quantity of drugs.

Shane Ramjattan, 24, a salesman of Rochard Road, Penal, said his kidnappers released him on Saturday morning in Penal. He was able to walk several miles until he met a village where residents there assisted him in contacting the police.

Ramjattan, a father of two, claimed his abductors told him if he did not co-operate with them, they would behead him and send his head to his family.

Ramjattan was taken to Penal Health Facility, where he was treated for injuries to his back and chest.

"I feel like this is a bad dream. What has happened to me really sounds like something from a movie, but it was real. Every time I close my eyes, I remember these men beating me and screaming at me to work faster while in the forest," Ramjattan said during an interview at his Penal home on Saturday.

On Wednesday night, Ramjattan said he won some money from a roulette machine at a bar in Penal.

On his way to return the company's van, he claimed, he ambushed by a group of men.

H said while on his way home, a van had been following him and eventually blocked his path. Four men jumped out of the van, three of whom spoke Spanish. One of the men spoke English.

"They grabbed me and covered my face with a red T-shirt and then threw me in the back seat of the van and told me to give them my money."

Ramjattan had a total of $6,500 on him, which he had won and money from his daily sales.

He said he believes one of the men drove off with the van he was driving and abandoned it. The vehicle found off the roadway in Moruga a day after Ramjattan went missing.

"I did not know where I was going as I was blindfolded. They only uncovered off my face when I reached miles into the forest. They then tied me to a tree and beat me."

The following day, Ramjattan said he was fed water and bread and cheese.

"I could not stomach the cheese and I kept vomiting. The man who spoke English told me if I was ready to work. He said if I did not help them work, they would kill me. All this time, my blindfold was off and they took me to another area in the forest where there were other men carrying guns and drugs and packing."

He said the man told him his job was to clean off the oil from guns and then unpack packages of cocaine and marijuana. Ramjattan said he complied with the instructions on Thursday and Friday.

"I kept begging them to let me go and there were opportunities I could have run but I did not because I was afraid. I was barefoot and I didn't know where I was going. These men had big guns with them and I knew if I did try to run, I would be shot dead."

He said he slept on the ground among crawling and flying insects. Ramjattan did not appear to have any insect bites on his arms or feet.

On Saturday morning, he said, the men grabbed him up and began walking out the forest with him. They placed him in a van where he was again blindfolded.

"I thought they were taking me to kill me but after hours of driving, they threw me to the roadside and drove off."

He said he walked until he reached someone's house where he was able to get help.

Ramjattan's mother, Radica, 60, who sat next to her son during the interview, said that she has not been able to sleep since her son went missing.

"I just kept praying that he would be found alive and God answered my prayers. I was not going to give up and now hearing what he went through breaks my heart. I will never wish this on any mother," the crying woman said.

Police from the Penal CID have since taken a statement from Ramjattan and are continuing investigations.


"Penal man freed after 'working for drug dealers'"

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