The cock-and-bull story of 2020

We should have known that 2020 was going to be bad, since one of the craziest stories emerged at the very beginning.

In January, a man told police the amazing story of being kidnapped, held captive by Venezuelans and forced to clean guns.

The truth was however revealed during one of his court appearances.

While his ailing mother lit a deya in front of his picture, prayed and refused to eat until his safe return home, Shane Ramjattan was alive and well, afraid to show his face because he had gambled away his bossman’s money.

Ramjattan went into hiding on January 15.

The 24-year-old, who was employed as a distributor of bottled coconut water, finished work and met his father around 8 o’clock that Wednesday night at a bar. They drank beers and Shane played on the gaming machines. Both men left the same time but in separate vehicles.



Shane Ramjattan

Shane Ramjattan and his ‘abandoned’ vehicle


Although the elder Ramjattan arrived home, Shane did not. Calls to his cellular phone around 9.30 p.m. went unanswered. It was the same with subsequent calls. The following morning the company vehicle he was driving was found in a ditch along the Penal Rock Road. Ramjattan’s shoes and cellular phone were in the cabin but he was nowhere to be found.

A missing person report was made even as family members tried to unravel what happened to him. They surmised that he was kidnapped and robbed of the money he had from playing roulette and from the day’s sales.

His mother cried and begged for his captors to release him unharmed. She prayed and lit a deya at their Penal residence and fell ill after she refused to eat until her son was back home. She said he had haemophilia and a cut for him could be fatal. The 59-year-old called on the entire nation to pray for her son’s safe return. Searches were done in the forest by police, his employer, relatives, including his father, and villagers. Officers from the Barrackpore police station, the Criminal Investigations Department, the Cyber Crime Unit, the Anti-Kidnapping Unit and other agencies of the police service were also involved.

Three days later, residents contacted Shane’s family saying he was at Rock Road.

He told his father that he was a victim of road rage and the elder Ramjattan relayed the story to the media. “He said he pulled aside for the vehicle to pass but it just pulled in front of him. My son tried to pull away but he touched the car. He came out and noticed it was a minor hit so he offered the driver, an elderly man, $300. But the man said no he wanted $500. My son had $7,000 which he won from playing roulette machines and he went to get the money inside the van. But two men came out of the car and grabbed him.”

He said Shane was placed inside the car and one of the men took control of his van.



shane

Shane Ramjattan points to the spot on his face where he said he was struck. Photo:TREVOR WATSON


“He told me they blindfolded him with a jersey and took him into the forest in a camp. He said two of the men were speaking Spanish but the driver of the car was East Indian. My son said he was hit a few times and then tied up. He was not fed until Friday night. But he said something that was scary. My son said the next day the men put him in a boat and they went out at sea. He thinks it was in Venezuelan water. There were other people on the boat including women. The Spanish speaking men threatened to chop off their heads if they fought back. My son said he couldn’t see anything but he heard a woman scream and then a splash. He thinks they threw her overboard. Then they came back to the bush camp,” he said.

Shane Ramjattan also said he was beaten.

He later told police that he did not go to Venezuela but was kept in a forest camp and forced to pack drugs in crates and clean high powered weapons before he was blindfolded, walked out of the forest into a vehicle and then released.

On his return home, Ramjattan’s mother who never stopped praying for him, ate for the first time in three days. His father said Shane was traumatized and had minor bruises.

In an interview with the Express, Shane, the father of two young children said he needed time to recover. “I am hallucinating and seeing things. Last night I slept well but sometimes I would hear voices and wake up.” He also said he was in pain and wanted to visit a doctor.

Asked if he made up the story, Ramjattan said, “No, and who ever does not believe me should experience what I did in that forest.”

He also said that he told the police everything and he hoped that they found the people “who did this.” He warned citizens to be aware of their surroundings at all time.



Shane

Shane Ramjattan on his way to the Rio Claro Magistrates’ Court today. Photo: Nikita Braxton-Benjamin


After being interviewed by the police, however, Ramjattan was charged for making a false report to them that he was kidnapped. He was taken to court where the truth was revealed. It was heard that Ramjattan told officers, “I gamble out the boss man money. I real sorry.” His attorney said his client was afraid to approach his boss.

Also during the court hearing, Shane apologized “to the whole country and everybody for my stupid mistake.”

He told the police, “Thanks for showing concern for me in the bush and walking all over and wasting your time. It won’t happen again.”

The Rio Claro magistrate fined him $600. He was given seven days to pay the money or serve two months in prison with hard labour. The money was paid.

Following his court appearance, people took to social media and several memes and posts emerged making fun of Shane. Back then he told the Express, “I see what people are saying about me and I cannot believe it. That is not called for. I am not a bad person.”

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