Trinidad: Inmate believed to be mastermind behind UWI kidnapping

Maria Dass-Supersad

(Trinidad Newsday) THE man who is believed to have orchestrated the daring, daylight kidnapping last week of UWI manager Maria Dass-Supersad, at the St Augustine campus, did so from behind prison walls.

National Security intelligence sources said this prisoner is suspected of running an illegal operation from his prison cell and has a group of people on the outside carrying out illegal activities on his behalf, in return for cold, hard cash.

Investigators used technology to get information about the prisoner’s involvement in last week’s kidnapping and he and four other prisoners are expected to be investigated. Two Diego Martin men who were arrested during the rescue of Dass-Supersad, remain in custody as investigations continue. Detectives of the Police Service Cyber Crime Unit examined data from cellphones found on the two suspects which showed the link between the prisoner and Dass-Supersad’s kidnappers.

Last Wednesday at 3 pm, Dass-Supersad was snatched as she was making her way to her car which was parked near the north entrance of the campus. She was snatched by two men, one dressed in police uniform including a bulletproof vest and the other dressed in army fatigues.

The man made Dass-Supersad walk seven miles, in her high-heel shoes, in the Caura forest before reaching a makeshift camp where she was drugged in order to be kept under control.

The men later decided to move her to another location but Dass-Supersad was rescued when police intercepted the car she was in along Caura Royal Road at 8.30 pm last Wednesday.

Yesterday, Police Commissioner Gary Griffith said he did not wish to divulge information on the status of the investigation, but admitted that prisoners are involved in organising kidnappings and murders from behind prison walls.

“This could also include not only prisoners themselves, but also people contacting and contracting prisoners to conduct illicit activities. This is intelligence and through the Minister of National Security, the prison and police service are now working hand in hand to put an end to the previous easy access of messages being passed to certain prisoners and having them send it back out,” Griffith said.

It is believed that Dass-Supersad, who lives in Port of Spain, was marked for kidnapping because she was deemed an easy target and it was thought she was well off financially. But her husband Vikash Supersad, who works for an oil company, dismissed this claim and said he is renting an apartment from a friend, at a reduced cost.

Dass-Supersad was interviewed by Anti-Kidnapping Unit (AKU) officers last Friday and gave a statement to Sgt Nixon and WPC Andrews. On Saturday, Vikash issued a press release thanking the police, relatives, friends and people on social media who prayed and offered support for the family. Yesterday he said he did not wish to comment any further, because of the ongoing police probe.

Investigators have ruled out any involvement of Supersad’s relatives in her kidnapping.

Yesterday, Prisons Commissioner Gerard Wilson said he is not discounting the possibility of prisoners carrying out illegal activities, saying, “That is the norm, that prisoners have been using their phones to call shots from within the prison walls and to even involve people on the outside to commit crimes on their behalf.”

He claimed to be unaware of a prisoner being linked to the Dass-Supersad kidnapping. Wilson admitted that the “grabbers and jammers” technology introduced to block phone calls and messages from entering and leaving the prisons needs to be updated, because prisoners have found innovative ways of beating the system.

“Technology is a funny thing – it changes every day, so it must be updated constantly,” Wilson said.

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