Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 8th 2013 Contents Relatives of slain policeman Simon Claphan talk with an
investigator near the scene of the shooting in Woodbrook
yesterday. PHOTO: MARCUS GONZALES
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One suspect detained
Continues from page A1
The driver, a 29-year-old man from Belmont,
was arrested. No guns were found in the car. The
driver of the getaway car remained in police custody
last evening. Police said the arrest of the gunman
Homicide detectives do not believe Claphan
was targeted because of his occupation, but fell
prey to opportunistic robbers.
When a news team from the T&T Guardian
visited Claphan s home yesterday afternoon, his
wife and two sons were too distraught to speak
One of Claphan s relatives, who gave a short
interview, described him as kind, cheerful and
helpful. He said Claphan was a motorcycle enthu-
siast who repaired and customised bikes when he
was not on duty. He served in the T&T Police
Service for more than 20 years, the relative said.
"Is through the bikes he get into the Police
Service. After a while he started to drive around
senior officers, including former Police Commis-
sioner Dwayne Gibbs," the relative said.
When asked if Claphan would normally assist
people when he was off duty, as he did Thursday
night, the relative said: "That is the type of guy
he was. He always willing to help."
Hours after he was murdered, National Security
Minister Emmanuel George and DCP Mervyn
Richardson visited Claphan s family. Acting CoP
Williams s wife, Avason, also visited the family.
Williams is on an official overseas trip to a con-
ference in Asia.
ACP Wayne Dick and Senior Supt John Daniel
of the Homicide Bureau are investigating Claphan s
Claphan s killing and two others pushed the
toll to 164 for the year.
Saturday, June 8, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
How far off the road did the
controversial firetruck run last
November before it was retrieved
at enormous expense?
In an interview with the T&T
Guardian last week, president of
Sammy s Multilift Service Ltd
Ramdath Ramsubir claimed the
water tender plunged some 300
to 400 feet over a precipice.
"About 300 to 400 feet down.
It was very far down," Ramsubir
He made the comments as he
insisted the $6.8 million price tag
for retrieving the water tender was
"justified," after questions were
raised about the hefty sum paid
for the job.
A quotation of $10,189,115 was
originally submitted, but Cabinet
twice refused to sign off on it after
several ministers objected to the
Cabinet eventually agreed to a
revised price of $6.8 million,
approximately three times what
the tender cost when new.
The accident occurred on
November 17 along the Blan-
chisseuse Road, as the water tender
was going to the scene of a traffic
accident that claimed the life of
Rose Moonilal. She and her hus-
band, Krishna, were returning from
a beach lime when their car went
over the edge of the eroded road-
way. The water tender was on its
way to the scene when it also ran
off the road and down the hill.
Along with a November 22
report that he sent to permanent
secretary Jennifer Boucaud-Blake,
former chief fire officer Carl
Williams attached a letter detailing
the method used to retrieve the
The letter, from Sammy s Mul-
tilift, said: "Due to the fragile sur-
rounding area of the accident site,
large wooden crane mats were car-
ried to site and place as a foun-
dation for the 250-tonne crawler
crane with the assistance of a fork-
"The crane was then positioned
on the wooden crane-pad foun-
dation, riggers were then safely
lowered approximately 100 feet to
the tender in order to secure the
rigging to the same.
"The tender was then lifted out
of the precipice in a synchronised
manner with the assistance of two
excavators and the 250-tonne
Ramsubir also told T&T
Guardian three 35-tonne cranes
had to be used.
However, the report made no
mention of the cranes Ramsubir
claimed were used for the job.
In addition, Williams s report
said, "Fire Service land search and
rescue teams from the Santa Cruz
and Chaguanas Fire Stations
responded to the call but were
unable to haul the appliance out
from where it had come to rest
approximately 15 metres down the
Fifteen metres is 49.2126 feet.
In an amateur video recording
at the scene, posted online at
daVrCc&sns=fb, the speaker on
the audio track says the firetruck
ran 60 feet off the road. The truck
is clearly visible, not far below
None of the six firefighters
aboard were trapped in the water
tender when it ran off the road.
Williams said in his report:
"Reports indicated that all officers
on board the appliance escaped
serious injuries and were able to
exit the vehicle unaided, except
for firefighter Roxanne Samaroo
who was thrown from the front
seat of the appliance and sustained
an injury to her right shoulder."
The six firefighters were iden-
tified as: Briggs (driver), Samaroo,
Beharry, Ramrattan, Charles and
The report said they were taken
to the Eric Williams Medical Com-
plex, Mt Hope, where they were
treated and discharged, except
Samaroo, who was kept overnight
for observation and discharged the
Deputy Commissioner of Police Mervyn Richard-
son, in a brief telephone interview yesterday, said
the entire Police Service was grieving over Claphan's
"We would like to extend condolences to his fam-
ily. We also want to give them the assurance that
the Police Service will help in their time of distress,"
He said Claphan's murder investigation would be
both timely and thorough.
He also said the police would continue to carry out
their duties in a "professional and dignified" manner
to ensure the country is peaceful and productive.
Yesterday evening, Police Social and Welfare As-
sociation secretary Sgt Michael Seales said its
members were traumatised and outraged by the in-
cident. He described the attack as callous.
"We would like to extend condolences to
Claphan's family. No words can express how we feel
about his loss," Seales said.
"The association is resolute that its members will
maintain a level of professionalism and will respond
in a measured way to this act of aggression towards
one of its members."
He said the association's members would uphold
the law and continue to defend the country against
Amateur video sheds new light at crash scene...
fell in contention
A 30-year-old Carenage man
remained hospitalised last night
after he was wounded during the
attempted carjacking of a police
officer in St James yesterday.
According to reports, shortly after
6 am WPC Williams of the Special
Branch was parking her pickup truck
on Agra Street, St James, when a
white Nissan Tiida with four male
occupants pulled alongside her.
Two of the men got out of the
car and blocked Williams path.
Police said one pointed a gun at her
and ordered her to get out of her
car, but a sentry at a police unit at
the corner of Agra and Patna Streets
saw the commotion and rushed to
Police said the gunman began
shooting at the sentry, who returned
fire, hitting the gunman s accomplice
once in the leg. The gunman
returned to their car, leaving behind
his wounded accomplice. The car
then sped off.
The wounded man, who lives at
Big Yard, Carenage, and is well
known to the police, was taken to
the Port-of-Spain General Hospital,
where he underwent emergency sur-
gery. He was warded in a stable con-
dition under police guard yesterday.
Investigators said that both
Williams and the sentry were able
to give a detailed description of the
robbers and their getaway car. An
arrest is imminent, police said.
Colleague saves WPC from carjackers SEEKING ANSWERS
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