Tuesday 10 December, 2019

A history of high profile jailbreaks in T&T

Christopher ‘Monster’ Selby, Hassan Atwell and Allan ‘Scanny’ Martin

Christopher ‘Monster’ Selby, Hassan Atwell and Allan ‘Scanny’ Martin

While many are still scratching their heads over Vicky Boodram’s escape from prison on Monday evening, some may recall that this is not the first high profile escape from custody in Trinidad and Tobago’s history.

We rounded up some of the most prolific breaks for freedom committed by prisoners in Trinidad and Tobago.

Vicky Boodram

Vicky Boodram, who was awaiting trial for over 140 counts of fraud, is currently on the run after she was freed from the Arouca Women’s Prison on Monday evening.

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Boodram was collected from the Prison by two police officers, a man and a woman, who had what appeared to be official court documents summoning her to the Tunapuna Magistrates Court. After the pick-up, the female officer was reportedly dropped off at home, and the other says he handed Boodram over to personnel at the courthouse. Boodram was eventually recaptured in Penal on Thursday night, following her escape. It is believed that the male police officer conspired to break Boodram out of prison. Boodram is being questioned on the details of her release.  

Allan ‘Scanny’ Martin, Christopher ‘Monster’ Selby and Hassan Atwell

It was a hot July day in 2015 when Allan ‘Scanny’ Martin, Christopher ‘Monster’ Selby and Hassan Atwell forced their way out of the Port of Spain Prison, wounding a prison officer and killing Police Constable Sherman Maynard in their bid for freedom. The jailbreak took place just days before the 25th anniversary of the 1990 attempted coup, and just days after the architect of said-coup, Imam Yasin Abu Bakr, had been detained for questioning by police. News of shots fired near the prison sent shockwaves through Trinidad and Tobago, but especially the capital city, where citizens, fearing a repeat of 1990, congested the streets in an effort to get home to safety. In the end, murder-accused Martin was shot dead on the grounds of the Port of Spain General Hospital, and Atwell was found shot to death the following Sunday in the hills of east Port of Spain, allegedly by members of the ‘Rasta City’ gang. Selby eventually surrendered to police and has since been charged with the death of PC Maynard.

Steve McGilvery and Leroy Mohammed

Just one month after the Port of Spain jailbreak, prisoners Steve McGilvery and Leroy Mohammed managed a difficult and dangerous escape from the Carrera Island Prison on Independence Day 2015.

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McGilvery was serving a 30-year sentence for manslaughter on the island, while Mohammed was serving a 12-year sentence for aggravated robbery.
It is still unknown exactly how the men managed to escape their island prison, but officers at the time suspected that a boat was waiting for the two convicts in the waters off the island. In July 2017, Two years after their escape, McGilvery was recaptured near his SeaLots home after he allegedly engaged in a gunfight with police and was shot in the groin. In October this year, Mohammed was shot dead by police during an exchange of fire in Chaguanas.

Deochan Ramdhanie

In September 1998, Deochan Ramdhanie, considered one of the major “drug lords” of Trinidad and Tobago simply “walked out of jail and disappeared”. This, according to the book Transnational Crime in the Americas. Ramdhanie, along with his father Mantoor Ramdhanie had been arrested and charged with possession of 10 kilogrammes of cocaine in 1996. The father and son, along with two other men were convicted and sentenced to serve life for the crime in 1997. One year after his conviction, the younger Ramdhanie was reportedly transported to the Princes Town Magistrates Court to serve as a witness in another case, when he escaped from police custody. Ramdhanie was recaptured in Venezuela one month later during a joint exercise of the Venezuelan police and the United States Drug Enforcement Administration. It was concluded that certain corrupt police officers had been involved in an intricate and complex escape plan, which required a payout of over USD $1 million in bribes to police officers and court officials.

Ramdhanie returned to prison but was released in 2005, after the Privy Council quashed the four men’s convictions and ordered no re-trial.

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