Father tells young people: Leave the guns alone

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Rajesh Ramlakhan’s ID card – Photo by Gregory Mc Burnie

After both his sons were shot dead ten years apart, Mohan Ramlakhan is pleading with young people to “leave the guns alone.”

On March 2, Ramlakhan’s younger son Rajesh died in hospital after being shot at his home on Achong Trace, Tunapuna.

Rajesh was with a relative and another man in a house on a family compound when a single gunshot was heard.

Relatives found him sitting in the room alive but with a gunshot wound to his head.

Police took Rajesh to hospital, where he died less than an hour later.

Rajesh’s death came ten years after his older brother Ronnie was found shot dead in an abandoned house.

Ramlakhan said Ronnie was involved in the drug trade and was at home when a man pulled up in front and called out to him.

Ronnie went outside and was ambushed by a group of men who bundled him into a car and drove off with him. The men took him to an abandoned house in the area, where they murdered him.

Speaking with Newsday at the Forensic Sciences Centre in St James, Ramlakhan said young people need to realise the impact guns can have on their life and those around them and consider that when making decisions.

Asked for his thoughts about the people responsible for his son’s murder, Ramlakhan said “one little bullet” could now destroy their life and cause them to spend a lifetime in prison.

“They might never see freedom. So leave the guns alone.

“Stop playing with it. Leave it. Try to do better,” he added.

He said this advice was also applicable to his son, who he claimed had been involved in illegal activities, but “never hurt anyone.

“He just sell a little weed and will hold a little strap (gun) on him. But apart from that he never shoot nobody.

“You know young people. They see a pipe (gun), they want to hold it, they want to keep it. But that don’t mean holding and keeping a pipe, you is a killer.”

He said he had spoken to Rajesh about his choices, but their discussions turned to arguments.

“He play criminal and thing for me already during the conversation. Like all young children, when you tell them the right thing they does feel you doing the wrong thing.

“It had a little escalation and we had a cuss-out but because is my son, I ent really take him on. I just leave him, and then he came back to his senses and he came back home.”

Despite their disagreements, he believed his son was changing.

“He’s a fella who was listening. He had consideration for his mother and me.

“He was normal in his last times, he wasn’t in nothing,” he added.

Ramlakhan said he has leaned heavily on his faith and discipline to overcome the grief he has endured.

“I am a man of God and I love to make peace. Everybody around the community knows I’m a very serious man. I just do martial arts and I keep peace.”

He suggested these principles have kept him from seeking revenge.

“Most important, I try my best not to use my skills to damage nobody in life.”

Ramlakhan said people need to learn to let go of their anger and instead try to look out for each other.

“I believe the young generation have to learn to trust one another. They have to learn to watch (out for) one another. Watch your brother back and your brother will watch you too.”

He warned there is no profit in living with anger.

“It don’t matter what happen, you can’t kill (anyone). Life is not your decision to take.”