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August 17, 2022

Please, Prime Minister, do something about crime and keep youths safe.

That’s the call of Kalawatee Luthra, grieving mother of 34-year-old Nikhil Luthra, who was shot dead by a masked man around 2 a.m. yesterday while liming with a group of friends in a cabana outside The Resi­dence Restaurant and Bar at One Woodbrook Place, St James.

Police said the gunman climbed a wall and shot at the group seated at a table, before fleeing the scene.

Three people were shot—Luthra, Eli Hajahlay, 51, and Roger Ramdeo, 34. They were all taken to the St James Medical Complex, where they were treated before being transferred to the Port of Spain General Hospital. Nikhil, co-owner of Blue Sky Shipping, died while undergoing treatment. Hajahlay, who was shot in the head, and Ramdeo, who was shot in the torso, are both stable at hospital.

Police said the suspect’s vehicle was observed parked near the club for at least an hour prior to the incident, leading investigators to believe it was a targeted attack.

In an interview at her Lange Park, Chaguanas, home yesterday, Kalawatee Luthra, who is involved with a non-governmental organisation called Serving Women and Youth (SWAY), said she never thought murder would reach her home. Describing her son as her gift, she said: “This mother can say he was a good boy, he was not part of a gang. The only ganging up he did was against poverty and helping people.”

She said Nikhil supported her work with SWAY, adding she couldn’t have done it without the help of her son and his friends.

She continued: “I don’t let people bad-talk their country because if you can’t do for your country, shut up. But today I have a different story to tell. The love of my life, my only son, where all my love for this country will go when my son was not safe in a place with ten of his friends sitting down? Should I still be in love with my country, or should I say you took him away, this land that I call home and so proud of, you took away my only son?

“The people of Lange Park should not sit down until we have a safer place. I want to tell my Prime Minister as much as we love you, we need you to do something to make our youths safe. We cannot lose people like this, and I will ask that we all be our brothers’ keeper.

“We have to do something to make this place a secure place, whether it is in our community, whether in our village, whether it’s the area. Tell my PM, my PM has to know that it’s people like us who are pillars of the community. We teach, we don’t want women to suffer, we want to teach them a skill. So we have to do something to make this place a better place, whatever it is. Mr Fitzgerald Hinds, our Commissioner of Police, whoever it is has to do this.”

The management of the The Residence issued a brief statement on its social media yesterday, saying their thoughts and prayers go out to the families.

It said, “The Resi­dence extends our deepest sympathies to the affected families from last night’s tragic incident. Our priority remains the safety and well-being of our customers. This unfortunate incident is now the subject of an investigation led by the police.”

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