PORT OF SPAIN – Questions are being raised and a call for an investigation has been made along with a threat of legal action, following the death of a Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force (TTDF) soldier.
Warrant Officer Omar Samaroo, 47, was found slumped in a dormitory at Camp Cumuto, Wallerfield with a gunshot wound to the head last Tuesday, and died hours later at hospital.
His death was ruled a suicide. But some people aren’t so sure that’s what it was, and Opposition Senator Wayne Sturge says he intends to take legal action if the TTDF does not investigate the circumstances surrounding Samaroo’s death.
In a letter to Chief of Defence Staff Brigadier General Rodney Smart and copied to Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi and National Security Minister Edmund Dillon, Sturge said Samaroo’s death was suspicious, based on his injuries – which he claimed included broken ribs – and how he was found.
He said the public and Samaroo’s family had a right to know whether there was any wrongdoing in his death.
“There should be an effective official investigation when individuals such as officer Samaroo have lost their lives in suspicious circumstances while on duty as a servant and or agent of the State. This officer lost his life while on duty at an army base under your command,” Sturge’s letter to Brigadier General Smart stated, adding that the matter was of “great public importance” that the requires “expeditious action” on the part of the State.
“Should there be no action on the part of the Defence Force and the State in this matter I hereby formally give notice that I shall be challenging the failure of the State to initiate a proper investigation in accordance with my request herein in the High Court in the public interest. I wish to emphasize that the request for the investigation into the death of this officer is not one which ought to be triggered by anyone but one which should have been commenced forthwith by the State in the fulfillment of it substantive and procedural constitutional obligation to the deceased officer.”
However, the TTDF has called on Sturge and other members of the public to desist from making “false and unsubstantiated remarks” about Samaroo’s tragic massing and allow his friends and family members to grieve in peace.
The Defence Force said it “vigorously denounces the flow of misinformation being purported by some conspiracy theorists, in particular by certain ‘responsible’ individuals in society”.
The TTDF also dismissed claims that Samaroo’s body was bruised and that three of his ribs were broken. It said an autopsy confirmed that the soldier, who was a member of the Defence Force for 27 years, died as a result of a single gunshot wound to the head and there were no other marks of violence on his body.