GDF offers $3.4M to widow whose husband died in accident with drunk soldiers

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The Guyana Defence Force (GDF) has offered a $3.4M compensation to Chandanie Khayum, the widow of Ryan Khayum, who was killed when an army vessel crashed into his boat on April 20 in the Pomeroon River.

But the family says the sum offered is not sufficient to cover expenses including funeral costs.

“The sum that they offer it come up to like $3.4M because the boat engine -15 hp is like $640,000, the goods and her money that last is about $900,000…

“…when she check it up the $3.4 ain’t even matching up to what the actual funeral cost,” Chandanie’s uncle Ramroop Mahase told the News Room on Thursday.

Mahase said the family had to pay someone to get the post mortem done, parlour fees and other expenses. He added that employees who were on the boat when it capsized also lost their cellphones and personal belongings.

The damaged boat that the family was in

On the night of the accident, Mr. and Mrs. Khayum along with two workers were returning home after selling provisions and coconuts on the Essequibo Coast.

The GDF vessel was returning from Charity to the Floating Base with four ranks when the accident occurred. The ranks were seen drinking before leaving for the Army’s floating base at the mouth of the Pomeroon River. It was also reported that the vessel had no headlights.

The $3.4M offered by the GDF on Tuesday last covers $1, 035, 500 for funeral expenses of Mr Khayum, $600,000 –the cost of repairs to the damaged vessel – $310,000 for the recovery of the vessel, $640,000 for the replacement of the boat engine and $900,000 to replace valuables lost.

The agreement, seen by the News Room, states that the GDF is entering the contract with the widow “to provide for certain payments in full settlement and discharge all claims which are or might become the subject of a complaint.”

It further stated that “this agreement is given and accepted for the purpose of avoiding the expense, inconvenience and uncertainty of litigation. Nothing contained in this Agreement, nor any consideration given pursuant to it shall constitute, be deemed, or be treated by any party for any purpose as an admission of an act, position, omission, liability or damages.”

The woman’s uncle told the News Room that the family appreciates the offer but it has to be taken into consideration that Mr. Khayum was also the main breadwinner for his family.

“We appreciate them coming forward but they are not mentioning anything about compensation for the husband’s life she is now a widow and he was the provider, her business everything went down,” Mahase said.

The agreement has not yet been signed as it contained some mistakes which had to be corrected.

According to Mahase, the family was advised to wait on the return of the police file from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) before agreeing to the settlement.

The Captain of the GDF vessel was arrested and subsequently placed on station bail, while the three other GDF ranks were put in the custody of the Army.

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