On December 19, 2006, Vindra was kidnapped, by armed gunmen in her
driveway of her Lange Park, Chaguanas, home.
Based on the pattern of blood left behind, police said that Vindra
fought with her kidnappers.
Crime stoppers had posted a $100,000 reward for information leading
to whereabouts. Also Lange Park residents and Chaguanas Crime Watch
offered $25,000 and $10,000 respectively for any information.
January 6- The search begins at Upper La Puerta Avenue, Diego Martin-
Cops come up empty handed.
January 19- Pond searched at Depot Road in Longdenville. After five
days of dredging and pumping of the 60-foot-deep caiman-infested
pond, police called off the search.
March 2- Lawmen went to the home of attorney Odai Ramischand, who
had claimed that three men confessed to him that Vindra had been
shot, raped and dismembered.
May 9-Investigators returned to Upper La Puerta Avenue where they
interviewed several suspects. Used liminol to find traces of blood
not visible to the naked eye.
May 13- Murder charges laid against nine men for Vindras murder.
May 15- Tenth man charged.
May 18- Eleventh man in court.
July 13- Twelfth man in court
Shevon Peters, his twin brother Devon, Allan Martin, Earl Tremmingham
and his younger brother Marlon Tremmingham, Ronald Armstrong, Joel
Fraser, Keidan Garcia, Antonio Charles and Lydon James all of Upper
La Puerta Avenue, Diego Martin.
Two others, Akiel Gloster and Josey Ogiste were freed on August
7 after the Director Public Prosecutions discontinued the proceedings
against them on August 3.
Approximately 37 witnesses are expected to testify.
Hearing continues on December 18 and 19.
Coolman in a pensive mood as he speaks to the Trinidad Guardian
at his new home in central on Wednesday. Photo: Karla Ramoo
A year after 51-year-old Xtra Food CEO Vindra Naipaul-Coolman was
kidnapped and killed, her second husband Rennie Coolman, of two
and half years, feels he would be unfairly targeted to bring a speedy
end to his wifes inquiry, which is before the court.
And although Coolman said he was never questioned as a suspect by
the police during their investigations, society continues to accuse
him of being implicated in some way.
Coolman, 56, a campus co-ordinator at the University of T&T
(UTT), on Wednesday dismissed rumours that Vindra was kidnapped
and her body dumped because she had a large saving account and a
million-dollar life insurance policy, which he was after.
me put that to rest...Vindra had no life insurance and that can
be verified, he said.
also had no significant life savings because she was the type who
were days when she emptied her purse to help others and did not
even have money to buy lunch.
was so unselfish...always putting people first.
worked hard for what she had.
All that he would cherish of Vindra, he said, are fond memories
and a lifetime of pictures, which he safely keeps.
Almost everywhere he turned, Coolman said, someone of stature made
pronouncements, linking him to the kidnapping.
Among those were a pundit and a retired police officer, he added.
will always be a lot of speculations, he said.
I could ask is for people to understand and try to know before they
talk...If they cant talk to me they can ask people of me.
He also denied reports that he had an intimate relationship with
another woman before Vindra was kidnapped.
cant respond to that because there was nobody else,
dont know where that rumour came from...but its pure
any matter of this type, the spouse is always the number one suspect,
and even though I was never questioned by the police as a suspect.
always had a concern that I will be targeted in an unfair manner
for political or other reasons.
Contacted yesterday, Supt Nadir Khan, who investigated Vindras
killing, said Coolman was not questioned as a suspect.
he was interviewed by the police.
Khan laid the charges against the men accused of killing Vindra.
Though Vindras body was not found, Coolman said the things
that happened in their lives had prepared them for this juncture.
People want justice
Sitting in the porch of his central-based home, located in a gated
community, which he described as their love nest, an
emotional Coolman in a candid interview said they both loved each
other unconditionally, having tied the knot on July 10, 2005, in
a simple ceremony at her parents home in Valsayn.
Stating that Vindras case was high profiled, Coolman said:
all know that people talk at the highest level and there were times
when I was targeted.
have to look for a solution...an outcome, he said.
would be from a political point of view...I dont want to say
that I dont trust the court.
Coolman said people want to see justice.
lot of people are angry by this and they are looking for results
or someone to be held responsible and accountable, he said.
fear that if that is taken to the extreme, I would hope that the
right thing is done and is not influenced by the need for a solution...and
that true justice is done.
Time to move on
Next Wednesday, on the first anniversary of her kidnapping, a memorial
service and the launch of a book, entitled VindraHer Legacy
of Love and Goodness, will be published by Blue Stars, an organisation
based in Claxton Bay, where she served as a member of the board.
The 200-page book contains 40 photographs of Vindra, quotations
of people, whose life she had touched doing humanitarian and charitable
work, and her biography from her husband.
Though he admitted he was disturbed by the kidnapping, he felt it
was time to move on with his life.
Coolman has since moved out of the Lange Park home where he and
Vindra had lived.
He now lives the life of a bachelor in their love nest.
The upscale property at Lange Park is now occupied by one of Vindras
I say move on, I know we can never forget the past...but we cant
continue to live in the past, Coolman said.
family has been doing things the way she would have wanted
to be grieving and sorrowful.
would have wanted us to carry on with her principles and turn her
ideas in a positive way for everyone.
Praising God, and a therapist from Ireland for giving him the strength
and courage to move forward, Coolman said the healing process has
With leg crossed, fingers interlocked and the sun falling behind
the horizon, Coolman, a father of two from a previous marriage,
said it was Vindras wish to move into this new house.
was supposed to be our love nest following our retirement.,
Vindra, who worked at Scotiabank before joining the familys
Xtra Foods Supermarket would have retired in three years.
However, their plans never materialised.
Last year, there was no Christmas cheer and celebration at the Lange
were hoping that she would have been home before Christmas
actually, on December 20. But that did not happen.
This year, Coolman will be spending the second Christmas without
Vindra at his side.
He plans to enjoy the holidays with close friends and family.
would be here in spirit this Christmas, he sighed.
His hopes of finding Vindra started to diminish after the third
week, knowing that the longer the police took to find his wife,
there was a slimmer chance of her not coming out alive.
did not have any proof that she was alive after three weeks had
passed...And the nation questioned why he said.
Two months before Vindra was snatched, Coolman returned home from
Toronto after studying for a year.
Though separated, Coolman said, they communicated everyday on the
used to talk for hours, which I miss a lot, he added.
Disappointed with the police
Clearing his throat, Coolman expressed disappointment with the failure
of the police to make a breakthrough with investigations in the
early stages of the kidnapping.
He said it was only after people started to apply pressure on the
police an effort was made.
disappointment was that significant effort was made by the police
only after the third week, he said.
think the authorities should be more pro-active in addressing crime.
Though kidnappings and crime had decreased before the November 5
general election, Coolman said, and then it suddenly spiralled
Coolman said too many times we read in the newspapers where
situations are treated without significance.
is put down as minor situation...All matters should be treated in
the same way and with urgency, he said.
dont know of a report until we act.
Asked if he felt safe in light of what has happened, Coolman curtly
feels safe in T&T except those who have security with them.
Questioned if he had faith in the countrys judicial system,
Coolman said he had concerns about it.
am disappointed in the way some matters were dealt with, he
He also confessed that his emotions got the better of him when he
paid $165,000 to Alisha Chunu, of Richplain Road in Diego Martin.
Chunu also faces charges of soliciting a total of $175,000 for the
forbearance of the charges against Coolman for his wifes kidnapping
The charges were laid in April 2007.
Bending his head, Coolman said, I messed up. Its the
worst thing I ever did in my life
falling for that prank.
Last conversation with Vindra
As customary, Coolman would walk Vindra, who he affectionately called
Wifey to the van every morning and kiss her goodbye before leaving
However, on December 19, Coolman admitted he had to take up duty
earlier than usual and bid farewell to Vindra who was in the shower.
did not get an opportunity to embrace her...And thinking about it,
I feel really sad and hurt, he said.
While on his way to his workplace, Coolman said, he felt a sweetness
he never felt before in terms of the love he had for Vindra.
During that day, Coolman said, he did not call Vindra, nor did his
wife call him because they knew that they were going to see each
other at home that evening.
morning was the last time I saw her, his voice trembling as
Asked if Vindras kidnappers had allowed him to speak to his
wife, Coolman did not dwell further.
Reflecting on his relationship, Coolman said the last year they
spent together was the best time of his life.
How they met
After the death of his father in 1991, Coolman migrated from Canada
to restart his life in Trinidad.
After searching for an apartment, he found one in Lange Park, next
door to where Vindra was living with her children, dog and maid.
Of the three areas in Lange Park Vindra lived, this was her first.
At that time, both Vindra and Coolman had been separated from their
For three months, Coolman said he had never spoken to any of his
neighbours and decided to introduce himself one Friday evening.
saw Vindra in her driveway...We had just come home and were at our
gates when we spoke to each other, he said.
Not long after, Coolman said, he took Vindra for a drive to Blanchisseuse.
friendship grew...Then we started living together, he said.
Back then, Vindra worked weekends at the bank.
That, however, changed after they got married.
saw a different side of her
she became more spiritual,
all her characteristic, one thing I will always remember was how
she changed after we got married in terms of caring and showing
her undying love.
is what I will forever cherish...There were no regrets in our marriage.
Given the fact that they were married and had been separated from
their spouses, Coolman said, marriage was never on the cards.
But as their love and friendship grew, marriage was discussed in
Having planned a Caribbean cruise for Christmas with Vindra and
his two children, Coolman broke the news to them at their breakfast
table, while sailing the blue seas.
kids told us that it was about time we got married...They were happy
and excited and so was Vindra, he said.`
Coolman said Vindra chose their wedding date, not out of a hat,
but based on numerology, which she carefully studied.
On July 10, 2005, wedding rings and vows were exchanged in the presence
of family and friends.
almost did not recognise her...Vindra had a radiance and sparkle
on her wedding, Coolman said.
must say we both looked regal.
At the Blue Star, death and dying were topics that often came up
among its members and guru.
was one way of handling death after life, Coolman said.
always used to tell people that she was a target in Trinidad and
talked about the concept of death...saying she was ready to be an
Coolman said Vindra often told people that she was a spiritual being,
who was having an experience in the physical world and she was not
worried about dying.
talked about it a lot...It was part of our teaching, he said.
She knew one day she had to go, but we were not expecting it to
be this way.
With Vindra no longer part of his life, Coolman said he had no plans