Trinidad: Parliament clerk shot dead in ‘hit’

(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) – After failing to kill a Couva woman on Friday morning, her killers finished the job hours later after they sprayed down her car with bullets while she was heading home after work.

Mariana Moonisar, 28, an administrative clerk at Parliament, died from a bullet to the head while her father Roopchand “Chippy” Moonisar, who was also in the car, escaped death, although a bullet struck him in the cheek.

The elder Moonisar, 56, a labourer employed at the Couva/Talparo/Tabaquite Regional Corporation, is expected to undergo surgery.

Police believe the gunmen were contracted to kill Moonisar, but they are yet to ascertain why the hit was put on her life.

Investigators are expected to interview several people, including the deceased woman’s ex-boyfriend who is a police officer.

Relatives said yesterday that Moonisar’s father usually accompanied her to Couva on mornings, where she would then take the bus to work and when she finished work he would again meet her in Chaguanas.

Police were told that on Friday morning around 5.30, gunshots were fired while Roopchand and his daughter were passing in the same area that they were ambushed. But they did not know the bullets were meant for them, a close friend said.

Later that day around 5.15 pm, according to a police report, Moonisar was about to turn her Tiida car into the Esperanza Road, not far from their home, when two men began firing several shots at the car, hitting both father and daughter. The men then jumped into a car and escaped.

Drenched in blood and tears, the father flagged down a villager and begged him for help. The man’s daughter was slumped in the seat soaked in blood. With the assistance of other motorists who stopped to help, the father and daughter were placed in the trunk of the villager’s station wagon.

“He was lying down hugging up his daughter,” said the villager, who recalled that on the way to the Couva District Hospital Roopchand was crying and kept begging, “Mari don’t leave me.”

Moonisar and his daughter were eventually transferred from the Couva hospital to the San Fernando General Hospital where she died while receiving emergency care.

Noting that so far the tough words from Commissioner of Police-designate Gary Griffith have not instilled fear or intimidation in the criminals, he said he was hopeful that when Griffith is officially appointed he would be able to restore stability and security in the country.

Police recovered about eight spent shells of .40 calibre on the scene. The Tiida was impounded at the Couva Police Station.

Couva and Homicide police officers, including Sgt Ramdial and PC Ramoutar, visited the scene. Investigations are continuing.