By Eve George
Caribbean News Now Senior Correspondent
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad — Two police constables from the Southern Division Police in Trinidad were arrested on Monday night in connection with the kidnapping of Natalie Pollonais, wife of Jason Pollonais, heir to Phillip Pollonais family oil and natural gas Inland and Offshore Contracting Ltd firm, who was abducted in South Trinidad last week.
Pollonais was freed after members of a joint unit of police and military personnel stopped a vehicle in San Juan just after 7 pm on Monday. She was unharmed and in good health and the suspect driving the car was held. Three other suspects were later held.
The two police officers arrested in connection with the kidnapping were taken to separate locations in the Northern Division where they were interrogated. By 10 pm, a corporal from the Highway Patrol Unit was also taken into custody, but was later released. Several other suspects were also being hunted up to press time and the police are said to be making significant progress in the matter.
When asked by local media what are his thoughts on the kidnapping of Natalie Pollonais, Commissioner of Police (CoP), Gary Griffith, responded with “no comments”.
However, CoP Griffith did state last night after the initial recovery and arrest of several suspects that “We intend to get every one of them,” after joint security forces intensified their manhunt to arrest all of the alleged suspects, including persons directly connected to the officers already in custody.
Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith stated on Monday night following the initial recovery of the victim and arrest of several suspects that “We intend to get every one of them,” as joint security forces intensified their manhunt to arrest all of the alleged suspects, including persons directly connected to the officers already in custody.
It had been widely reported that men dressed in Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) uniform were involved in the abduction of Pollonais. Witnesses described Pollonais being bundled into a panel van.
The kidnappers took her vehicle to a parking lot, changed the number plates and left the car and all of her belongings in it family sources stated.
Apparently the BMW driven by Pollonais is one of only three such models in Trinidad.
Relatives received a call from the kidnappers on the night of her abduction. Sources said she was allowed to speak to her husband, but her kidnappers disconnected the call when relatives began asking about her release. It was after this that police officers traced her BMW to an off-road location in the Cypress Hills area.
Pollonais, who is 47 and mother of three, lived with her husband and three children in South Trinidad.
The Pollonais family is involved in the oil and gas industry and owns companies supplying services such as pumping oil, and hydro-blasting, marine transport, and inland and offshore transport. They have also successfully conducted business with companies such as state owned oil refinery Petrotrin, BPTT, BHP Billiton, Baker and Hughes and EOG Resources.
The arrest of the police officers allegedly involved in this latest kidnapping have revived long-standing suspicions in Trinidad that the police force has been involved in earlier similar incidents.
On September 9, 2015, Carolyn Katwaroo, the former wife of a South Trinidad millionaire businessman, was also kidnapped in similar fashion close to where Pollonais was abducted.
Katwaroo’s kidnappers also left behind all of her belongings, including her white Mercedes Benz.
Katwaroo was recently divorced and suffered a brutal home invasion that left her scared mere months before she was kidnapped. She has not been heard of or seen since her abduction.
In September 2016, 34-year-old Ria Sookdeo, a hairdresser and mother of two, also from South Trinidad, was abducted as she dropped her children at school and made a turn to exit the school premises.
Sookdeo was dragged out of her vehicle into a black Nissan SUV said to have belonged to a former police officer. No one has been charged for Sookdeo’s kidnapping.
Pictures of one of the officers alleged to be behind the Pollonais kidnapping have a distinctly similar appearance to the sketch provided at the time of the alleged kidnappers of Sookdeo.
Sentiment and suspicions are running high in Trinidad and Tobago and residents are questioning the integrity of the security services.