Derek Mohammed shopkeeper speaks with Newsday about the recent kidnapping of Madras Road couple Narine and Mattee Maraj. Mohammed says he has also had to take precautions against criminals since operating his business in the area. – Shane Superville
Residents and business owners on Madras Road, St Helena, are praying that kidnap victim Mattie Maraj is released safely and are continuing to exercise caution in their community.
Maraj, 54, and her husband Narine, 62, were kidnapped on Saturday afternoon when they went to look at a plot of land they owned on Three B’s Road, Piarco.
Newsday understands Narine freed himself and escaped sometime on Sunday afternoon while hiswife remained missing up to Monday afternoon.
Newsday visited the area and tried to speak to Maraj’s relativeswho declined comment.
Newsday spoke to fruit vendor Derek Mohammed who runs a fruit-vending business on Madras Road near the Marajs’ home.
He said he was upset after hearing about the kidnapping.
Mohammed said while he lives in Tunapuna, he has also had to be careful when entering and leaving Madras Road as he was followed home one evening.
“I think people are trying as much as they can to be safe at this point.EvenI have changed my hours to ensure my safety.
“Some people might say I’m coming in too late because I’m trying to operate safely. I was followed all the way home with my wife and daughter in the car. I took alternative routes to go to the police station and I realised they kept following us.
Mohammed said he had noticed more strange faces passing through the area when more residents started renting buildings and their apartments.
“Boyee Street, which is just one street over, is a very popular street for bandits from what I’m hearing.”
Mohammed saidhe and other residents were praying Maraj would return home safely.
Newsday spoke to another shopkeeper who asked not to be namedwho said she began closing earlier after hearing about the kidnapping.
“It’s not a nice thing to have to be living so. When I heard that they were kidnapped I had to ask my friend if she was sure, because I just saw them the other day.”
One resident said there was need for a more active police presence in the community and called on them not to drive through the area but to alsowalk through the neighbourhoods and meet with residents and business owners.
“Sometimes you see them passing through with their lights on and so on. If someone is committing a crime, they will know to run and hide, that’s not catching anyone.”
Police from the Anti-Kidnapping Unit (AKU) and the Central Division are continuing enquiries.