Three months later, family still waiting on DNA results to bury fisherman 


A Rosignol, West Coast Berbice family has been waiting in agony for three months to confirm if the badly decomposed body that washed ashore at Dantzig, Mahaicony in April is indeed that of their relative, Suraj Dhaneshwar. 

Dhaneswar, 28, a fisherman went missing on March 16 after the fishing vessel he was in capsized.

On April 12, a badly decomposed body washed up at the Dantzig foreshore and it is suspected to be that of Dhaneshwar, but only the DNA test can confirm. Samples were taken and sent to Trinidad and Tobago for testing.

Relatives of the fisherman said they were told that they would have to wait approximately three weeks for the DNA test results but it has been months.

Meanwhile, the family’s grief worsened after they learned that the Guyana Police Force buried the body and they were reportedly not informed.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Kurleigh Simon who was the then Regional Commander told the News Room that the body was buried in a shallow grave about seven to 10 days after it washed ashore. This he explained was done in keeping with the Force’s policy.

“We have to pay for every day the body is at the parlour, the Force’s policy is after a certain [time] we bury the body in a shallow grave and we can exhume it after a later date,” the Assistant Commissioner related.

Suraj Dhaneshwar’s relatives at the D’Edward Fishing Wharf (Photo: News Room/March 16, 2022)

However, relatives are claiming that they do not know where the body was buried and now, once the DNA test confirms the body is theirs, they cannot be sure it is Dhaneshwar.

“If them to give us the remains now, how are we gonna know if that is our family they dig out.

“We cannot know because they did not say – let the mother and sister come and see where they putting him down, we cannot know if that is the person they gonna give us back,” Omawattie Dhaneshwars, the man’s sister told the News Room.

The family said that they were informed months after the body was buried.

“It is really hard, I asked for the remains to just do a funeral and put him to rest.

“They bury him without even telling us anything, we are the family and we are sitting here waiting on the DNA to bury him,” the sister said.

The man’s mother, Chandrawattie Persaud added: “When we calling at the parlour the parlour people said they wrap him up, spray him and get him in a corner there and every time my children call, that is what they saying.”

Since the DNA samples were taken and sent to Trinidad for testing, the family is claiming that there have been no updates from the police.

“Unto to now we studying, we are waiting, we are crying and we are not getting anything,” a tearful Chandrawattie said.

Meanwhile, Minister of Home Affairs Robeson Benn in May said the country’s DNA testing capabilities were set for a massive upgrade with the procurement of new equipment, costing the state some US$300,000.

Even though the Guyana Forensic Science Laboratory can perform DNA testing, Minister Benn related that there are challenges when those tests are to be conducted on badly decomposed bodies and in other circumstances where sampling is poor.

When this occurs, the samples are usually sent overseas for testing which has proven to be both costly and timely.



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