"I just wanted it to end, but now I'm wondering if I let my husband's killer walk free." That was Nalini Mohammed's first thought as she exited the Hall of Justice in Port of Spain yesterday.
Mohammed, the widow of fisherman Shazad Mohammed, who was killed by Coast Guard gunfire six years ago, yesterday accepted the State's $750,000 offer as compensation after it accepted liability for Mohammed's death.
But after six years of constant court battles, Mohammed is now fighting a war with herself.
"I feel like I let everyone down by making this choice, but I had a big choice to make by myself and I made it. Now, after talking to the family, I feel like I'm the one who pulled the trigger. I feel like I'm the one who shot my husband," an emotional Mohammed said yesterday.
She said even as she walked into her family home in Penal yesterday and greeted their seven-year-old daughter, she knew it was not over.
"The money will take care of our daughter, but the money won't bring him back," Mohammed said yesterday in a telephone interview.
"I want to say I did the right thing, but I'm not sure. I'm not sure how I feel," she said.
"Did I just let a killer walk free?" she asked.
"It was hard sitting there reliving his last moments for the past six years. I felt like I wasn't even living all this time, " Mohammed said.
"I am between states right now and I don't know how to say I feel about the whole thing," she said.
The two met as 19-year-olds, with her brother acting as the matchmaker for the couple. They wed a year later and quickly had a daughter. But just months after their child's first birthday, Mohammed learned her husband had been killed.
She then started picking up the pieces and facing the legal system to right a wrong that forever changed her life and the life of her young daughter.
"But right now, this doesn't feel like justice. This feels like my fault. It's almost as if I pulled the trigger," she said.
But even mired in her pain, Mohammed has decided to share the money with those who stood by her throughout the last six years.
"I'm not keeping the money. My in-laws will get a portion after I pay the lawyers' fees. The witnesses who defended my husband and fought should also get something and I will make sure my daughter is taken care of with the rest," she said.
But while Nalini is in two minds about the decision, her father-in-law Fareed Mohammed is not. The Express visited the family home in Charlieville yesterday and spoke with the emotional parents.
"This is not justice. Money could never compensate for a life," he said.
"When she (Nalini) came here and told us (she accepted the money), I get vex one time," he said.
The elder Mohammed, a doubles vendor, showed pictures of his young son.
"He was a sickly boy growing up. They know how hard it was to mind him? They know how hard it was to get him big so? And now, he finally settle down and they kill my son," he said.
"I wouldn't wish this on anybody. To lose a child like this is too much to bear sometimes. I couldn't work for months, only back and forth to the courts to make sure my son get justice and what he get? Nothing," he said.
"Anybody will give up their child for any amount of money?" he asked.
"Half a million cannot pay for a life," he added.
Mohammed said his family suffered when his son was shot and he too lost equipment that was on the boat.
"They compensating me for that too?" he said.
"I not studying the money, I studying the justice. And there is no justice here," he said.