MURDERED FOR 'TAX' – mom of 3 gunned down at St Augustine home
One month after she gave birth to her youngest son, a St Augustine mother of three was shot dead outside her home on Friday afternoon.
Police said Aneesa Ramkissoon, 26, was at her Train Line Road, home at around 1 pm when two gunmen entered the house and shot Ramkissoon several times before running away.
Residents heard the gunshots and took Ramkissoon to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex where she was declared dead.
Ramkissoon's one-month-old son, three-year-old daughter and six-year-old son were in the bedroom of the house when she was murdered.
Newsday visited the scene as crime scene and homicide investigators took photos of the house and nearby areas and spoke to neighbours.
Relatives said Ramkissoon was in the process of building a small shop outside her home.
Speaking with Newsday, Ramkissoon's older sister, Neesha Ramkissoon said she suspected her sister was murdered after she refused to pay a "tax" imposed by criminals.
"They didn't kill my sister over no robbery, look they leave all the money.
"She came and said they asked her to pay tax, they want to start to tax the villagers. She told them no. She said 'I'm not paying any tax.' So they took her.
"They (Ramkissoon's children) were right there in the bedroom."
Another relative claimed one of Ramkissoon's sisters offered the gunmen money to leave her alone but they refused to accept the cash.
"She knelt down on her knees and begged them to leave her alone but they came to kill her. She had no chance to survive."
Ramkissoon said a neighbour ran through the village shortly before the shooting began, warning residents that gunmen were in the area.
"The message she got was that gunmen were coming. Somebody ran down in the back and told a relative to keep all of the children inside.
"She called me on the phone to warn me to stay inside because gunmen were coming. We were doing work as well in our own shop so we locked up everything and went inside.
"Then we saw the neighbour come to call us and they said that my sister got shot.
"My sister invited me just hours before to come for food. We didn't believe it."
Ramkissoon was gunned down walking distance away from Freeman Road, where 16-year-old Darshan Ramnauth and Geno Shah were killed in January.
Relatives said the murders shook the community and made many residents fearful.
Ramkissoon said her sister's murder was difficult to accept as she helped raise Aneesa after their father's death years ago.
At the home, tempers briefly flared between relatives and other residents before police intervened and warned them to keep their distance with each other.
Contacted for comment, St Augustine MP Khadijah Ameen said she knew Ramkissoon and recalled instances where she shared concerns over her safety as a resident.
Ameen said other residents had also come to her expressing their fear of criminals in the area and implored the authorities to take a stand in rooting out crime.
Referring to the murders of Ramnauth and Shah in January, Ameen said it was unacceptable that so much violence happened in such a small area.
"As MP she (Ramkissoon) always brought problems to our attention for us to assist, so I knew her. And she also expressed concern about the criminal activities in the area and she expressed concern that people would go to the St Joseph Station and make a report and the information would be leaked to criminals.
"I think she did not feel safe.
"I really feel that it requires serious intervention, there being three killings within a short period of time. And with the other social ills in that community, we're talking about very young people, so any child could get a stray bullet."
Ameen said she remembered Ramkissoon as being a helpful member of the community who would often call her to raise issues on flooding or other concerns.
She said Ramkissoon was also instrumental in organising a children's Christmas treat which was supported by Ameen and councillor Richard Rampersad.
Contacted for comment, a senior police officer in the Northern Division said concerns had been raised by people and businesses over criminals "taxing" them.
He promised that, while few reports were made to the police in the past, incoming reports would be treated seriously. He advised residents to make a report if demands or threats were made.
"We are putting together anti-crime strategies to alleviate that situation.
"As it stands now, we are asking all business owners: if that alleged request is made of them, to resist. In other words, take a stand and report it to us immediately.
"Once we have that report made to us, we will treat with that in a meaningful way. That is extortion and that is a very serious crime. And we're not going to take that lightly.
"We'll be adopting a zero-tolerance approach to this."
Responding to allegations that reports made to the police would be leaked to criminals, the officer urged victims to make reports directly to senior officers in the division such as the assistant commissioner of police or the three superintendents of the Northern Division.
"MURDERED FOR ‘TAX’ – mom of 3 gunned down at St Augustine home"