Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 31st 2016 Contents A10
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, March 31, 2016
Sometimes, from his mother s
gallery in Mafeking in the dusky
evening, Ramcumar Gangadeen,
56, would sit and watch the
Ortoire River flowing quietly along
and hear the muted roar of the
ocean not far away.
The river, Mayaro s pride, famed
for its occasional nightly blueish
glow, brings no peace to Gan-
gadeen s mind, however. It s a place
he would rather flee from.
"Like I don t even want to go by
the river," he said.
A humble "round de town" short
drop taxi driver and labourer with
the Rio Claro Regional Corporation,
Gangadeen says the river reminds
him of dark and perilous days
when, with a .357 Magnum
strapped to his waist, in his master
pirogue, he would slice the waters
of the Ortoire heading to a mari-
juana field in the Mafeking jungle.
He knew about making guns and
selling them too.
Happily married to Barbara now,
father of one beloved child, Shel-
lene, owner of a nice home, and
counsellor to young men on drug
blocks, the river brings back a flood
of memories of the "bad man" life
Gangadeen once dangerously lived
as a young man.
The bullet still lodged in his left
thigh is a constant reminder too.
But he still tells his story to youth
everywhere, pleading with them to
give up their guns.
Gangadeen s father was an alco-
holic and wife beater, he said, trac-
ing the start of his former criminal
"We never had money to buy
food and I dropped out of school
in Form Three.
"I lived in the club, gambling,
smoking weed, partying. My par-
ents could no longer control me. I
But even during this rebellious
time, young Gangadeen, nicknamed
"Ranga" by then from the local
phrase, "Rango Tango," was sending
one brother to school by cracking
coconuts and playing wappie.
"He is a policeman today," he
Gangadeen began cultivating a
field "quite up in the forest on the
banks" of the Ortoire.
"Other people planting weed
nearby had their crops stolen too."
It was during one of those heists
that Gangadeen and his accom-
plices were sprayed with bullets.
He went into business with a big
man, bought two pirogues and was
even doing business outside T&T.
"Homemade 12- and 16-gauge
shotguns were being sold. The parts
were bought and welded together.
"Every week there were orders.
Sometimes, up to 96 would sell in
one shipment," he told the T&T
Guardian. Gangadeen was accused
of even trying to kill a man once.
"I ended up with a grievious
bodily harm case in the High Court.
"When (Yasin) Abu Bakr and his
men tried to take over the country
in 1990 and burnt down police
headquarters in town, I thought
The case came back to haunt
Gangadeen years later, but by then
he was a completely changed man.
"The case was dismissed. I still
kneel down and thank God every
It was when he started using
cocaine that everything crashed.
"I sell out everything, brand
name clothes, boat. I would spend
nights on cocaine blocks smoking
He ended up in cells in police
stations in Mayaro and San Fer-
nando after he was arrested for
One day a group of people came
on the cocaine block in his village
to offer a way out to the young
men. Gangadeen willingly accepted
and got baptised.
"My life changed from that time.
God gave me back everything. I
stopped using drugs and got mar-
"At first my father-in-law didn t
want us to marry. He said: Barbara
you going and marry Chunksie bad
son? He never regretted it. I take
good care of my family."
Looking at the crime levels now,
Gangadeen pleaded: "Young men
put down the guns. After you kill
a man for $4,000, $5,000, what
benefits you getting?
"I lying down on a nice bed,
watching a nice TV in a nice fur-
"You have to put down the guns
to inherit that. When I put down
mine, everything work out nice."
Dark days by the river
A humble "round de town"
short drop taxi driver and
labourer with the Rio Claro
Gangadeen says the river
reminds him of dark and
perilous days when, with a
.357 Magnum strapped to his
waist, in his master pirogue,
he would slice the Ortoire
waters heading to a marijuana
field in the Mafeking jungle.
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