Brandon Samaroo (Dissent is the hightest form of Patriotism) CANADA says:

Satish if I take your logic on this should we also not charge government officials who have failed to protect our citizens for the past 18 years?

Weren’t you a big supporter of telling the British to take a hike when they were offering assistance?

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Parika boat captain feared dead after fiery pirate raid

A boat captain is missing and feared drowned after pirates forced him and his crew into the waters off the Venezuelan Coast in a vicious attack on Thursday.

 

Relatives of Vasdeo Persaud, 39, of Parika Façade, East Bank Essequibo yesterday held a wake while searchers in Venezuela look for his body. “I just hearing all the time me brother dead. Still me can’t say yes me brother die. I just hearing all the time”, Persaud’s sister, Dhanpattie cried yesterday.

Persaud and a three-man crew left Parika last Tuesday on the fishing boat ‘Sudesh’ to fish in the Atlantic Ocean. On Thursday they were attacked by pirates and forced into the waters. The three crewmembers were saved after clinging to a buoy for hours. They said Persaud drowned. One of the fisherman, identified as ‘Pepie’ is hospitalized with burns on his feet, which were sustained in the pirate attack.

Some of Vasdeo Persaud’s relatives: From left, his sister, Dhanpattie, son, Michael, wife, Phulmattie Grantam and son, Davin at their home yesterday.

Fishing-crew-missing

Deodat Bissoon, the owner of the ‘Sudesh’ told Stabroek News that it is the first time that Persaud was captaining his boat. He said last Tuesday morning, the vessel left Parika with Persaud and three crewmembers identified only as Pepie, Keelman and another youth who lives in Hubu. Bissoon recalled that at 8am last Friday, he received a call from someone in Venezuela. He said the person reported that his boat was hijacked while it was off the mouth of a river in Venezuela’s waters.

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Bissoon said he was told that at about 11 am on Thursday, four pirates in a vessel approached the ‘Sudesh’ and shouted to the crew that they wanted them out of the boat. He said the pirates were armed with guns and were not wearing masks. Bissoon said the crew did not come out and went to the back of the ‘Sudesh’. However, he said, the pirates sprayed fuel in that area and threw a lighted matchstick or wick but it did not ignite the fuel. By this time, he said, the crew had run to the front of the ‘Sudesh’. But the pirates followed and threw fuel there as well.

This time, it ignited. Some of the fuel had spilled on the men’s feet and this burned as well, Bissoon said.

With the cabin on fire and their feet burning, the crew jumped into the water.  Bissoon said he was told that there was a buoy about a mile and a half away and the men began to swim in this direction.

Pepie had sustained severe burns to his feet while Keelman was burned slightly as was the other youth. It is not clear if Persaud sustained burns. Bissoon said he was told that the tide was strong and the men struggled to reach the buoy.

He said one of the crew heard as Persaud began to shout. “He holler for help but they couldn’t help am. He holler about three or four time”, Bissoon said. Persaud was not seen again.

Bissoon told this newspaper the remaining three crewmembers clung to the buoy for hours until they were rescued by a Venezuelan boat. They were taken for medical attention and Pepie was hospitalized. Bissoon said the other two are at a friend and a search party looked for Persaud’s body but up to yesterday afternoon, had not located it. He said the men had left to fish in Guyana’s waters but had drifted into Venezuelan waters. Bissoon said that after the men had jumped into the water, they observed that the lighted fuel had burned out and the pirates started the engine and sailed away.

The boat owner said it was Persaud’s first trip on his boat. He said after some trouble with his previous employer, Persaud had asked him for a job and with him being a well-known captain, he agreed.   Bissoon said the boat was valued at around $4M and had a sail as well as two 48 horsepower engines.

Relatives gathered at Persaud’s home as they held a wake yesterday. Dhanpattie said she last spoke to her brother the Monday before he left and he had told her that all his problems and worries would end. On Friday, she said, her husband told her what had happened. Her brother was a fisherman for the past 19 years, she related and once after his boat sank, he clung to a buoy for 36 hours before being rescued.

Phulmattie Grantam, Persaud’s reputed wife said they were together for nine years.  He called late Tuesday to say he was at “Essequibo Point”, she disclosed. The last call she received was on Wednesday morning, when he told her he was at Waini and would be out of cellular phone range soon, she recalled. Grantam said her birthday is next Saturday. “He sey he might be back for the birthday or after the birthday”, she recalled. On Friday, she was told about the pirate attack.

Persaud is the father of two boys: Michael, 11 and Davin, 15. Before becoming a fisherman, he farmed in Essequibo.