ATTORNEY Dr Wesley Debideen was yesterday murdered as he sat in his car at the Grand Bazaar at Valsayn by a “determined” gunman, police said.
Debideen was the lawyer who represented Hindu Credit Union president Harry Harnarine at the Commission of Enquiry into CLICO and the HCU.
This is second such tragedy for the Debideen family, as Debideen’s nephew, Sean Lindsay Nono, was also gunned down three years and six months ago.
Debideen, 68, was yesterday shot in the head and about the body several times around 4.30 p.m. by an assailant who, one witness said, fired several times, walked a few feet away, then turned and went back, emptying several more shots into his victim.
As the gunman sped off in a red Mazda 323 vehicle, people who rushed to Debideen’s car saw him slumped in his seat.
All the doors of the car were locked and the windows, one riddled with bullets, were all up.
“It was a very sad sight that I will never forget,” the witness told the Express.
Police have described Debideen’s death as “a clear hit”.
Debideen, who was a regular customer at the mega-mall, had visited that branch of Republic Bank and then walked to Candy Cottage, where he bought ice-cream before getting into his car.
The eye-witness told the Express he first heard at least three shots. He went in the direction of the noise and saw a slim, short male, in a black cap, walking towards Debideen’s car, where he fired what appeared to be another six shots into the driver’s window and the windscreen in front of the driver’s seat.
The attacker got into a red Mazda 323 and left, though it was not clear whether the getaway car was being driven by someone else.
“I couldn’t see the man’s face clearly because of the cap, which was pulled down low but he wasn’t wearing a mask,” the witness said, adding that the killer appeared unhurried.
“To me it seemed that he fired some shots, wasn’t satisfied and went back to make sure the job was done,” the eyewitness said.
Debideen’s wife, Joyce Debideen, was at the scene, where she spoke at length to the police but declined to speak to the media.
The victim’s two sisters, his only siblings, were also present but were too overcome to say much.
“He was like a father to us. This is very hard to take,” said one sister, the mother of Debideen’s deceased nephew, who declined to give her name.
Debideen, who held a PhD in Food Chemistry, was also a former general manager of the Airports Authority.
Harnarine, who was present at the scene of the murder, said he has lost more than a legal adviser with Debideen’s death.
“This is the loss of a family member and the nation has lost someone who was much more than an average citizen,” Harnarine said.
“I hope this does not have anything to do with his profession because that would be a very frightening prospect for this country.
“This comes as a shock not just because it is unexpected but also because none of us can think of any enemies that Wesley had. He was such a good man and it is a sad day when a man who observes the law like Wesley did can die in this manner.”
Debideen had rendered his services to HCU “pro bono” Harnarine said, and had performed many other humanitarian services on behalf of HCU over the years.
Harnarine was joined by family friend Henry Chase, a final-year law student at Hugh Wooding Law School, who described Debideen as “a mentor”.
Chase said crime in Trinidad had long ago gone beyond acceptable levels and he called for political allegiances to be put aside in the interest of the nation.
Yesterday’s murder caused a spectacle and traffic in the mall, with crowds gathering around the area cordoned off just after Republic Bank to around the corner where vehicles would have exited in front of Fine Arts.
Among those in the mall yesterday was visiting Israeli rabbi, Dr Daniel Jeshrun Vargas, who on Sunday launched one of 12 global “prayer towers” in Chaguanas, said one of the purposes of the tower was to reduce crime.
Vargas, of the Beth Israel Jewish Ministries International, said Trinidad and Tobago had been identified as one of the countries in need of prayer intervention. “The other countries where there are prayer towers will be praying for this nation 24 hours a day,” Vargas said, adding that yesterday’s murder was “very unfortunate”. He was at the time having dinner with local pastor Anna Edwards, whose church hosted his visit.
In a media statement yesterday, the ANSA McAL Group of Companies, owner of the Grand Bazaar, said the company had been advised of Debideen’s death.
The company extended condolences to the Debideen family and said all efforts will continue to be made to ensure the safety of customers and tenants of Grand Bazaar.
Inspector Mark of the St Joseph police is heading investigations.