By Bibi Khatoon
The Government of Guyana today made a one-off payment to relatives of five fishermen who suffered from the deadly pirate attack on April 27 off the coast of Suriname.
Among those who received the sum of $100,000 each, were Mary Rodrigues – the mother of Sherwin Lovell – and Chandroutie Dwarka, who is the wife of Deonarine Gobherdan.
Lovell and Gobherdan are the two men who survived the brutal attack.
The other beneficiaries were the relatives of Glenroy Jones, Sunil Ramotar and Vickey Persaud who are still missing.
Four boats carrying some 20 fishermen were attacked off the coast of neighbouring Suriname on April 27, 2018. They were beaten and dumped overboard with heavy objects attached to their bodies and left to die.
The mother of 41-year-old Ramotar, Chandra Barran is still hopeful for a miracle. She told the media that she will use the money to investigate the circumstances that led to the disappearance of her eldest son.
“He used to come and go and come and go and then he never come back,” the tearful woman said as she disclosed that her son became a fisherman at the age of 17.
Ramotar has two children, ages 12 and 15 years old.
The woman said she misses her son every day. “The only thing I hope that is that I can hear his voice back.”
A crying Barran told the media that efforts were made to locate her son with the hope that he might be alive but because he is known by a different name by his colleagues, the process has been a difficult one since she does not know that name.
Meanwhile, Kavita Persaud, the wife of 29-year-old Vickey Persaud could not hold back tears throughout this morning’s ceremony at the Ministry of Public Security, as she remembers her young husband who is yet to be found.
Persaud, who resides at Fyrish on the Corentyne Coast, was comforted by the other victims’ relatives as she tried to regain her composure.
Minister Ramjattan said this is the first batch of payments which amounted to over one million dollars for the relatives of the 20 fishermen affected.
He said the Ministry is trying to ascertain the next of kin for the other victims.
“We are ensuring that we do the relevant checks because quite frankly what has happened is a lot of relatives have come forward all of a sudden and so we want to make it quite clear that the closest next of kin will get the money,” the Security Minister said.
According to Mr Ramjattan some families requested under $100,000 while others requested more but the Cabinet agreed on the final sum.
The Minister acknowledged that while it will never be enough, the money will help the families.
Following the deadly pirate attack on four fishing boats 30 miles (48 km) from the coast of Suriname, five men survived, while three bodies were recovered.
Missing are: Ramesh Sanchar, 50; Glenroy Jones, 20; Tilaknauth Mohabir, 50; Ralph Anthony Couchman,19; Rajkumar Bissessar; Ganesh Beharry; Bobby Ibrahim; Sunil also known as “Podock”; Ramnarine Singh; Bharat Heralall; Randy Burnette; and Olenski Maxwell.
The attack was described by President David Granger as a “massacre”. A national day of mourning was observed on June 25 as a solemn memorial to the Guyanese fishermen.