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.
of Vasdeo Persaud’s relatives: From
left, his sister, Dhanpattie, son,
Michael, wife, Phulmattie Grantam and
son, Davin at their home yesterday.
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
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
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
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
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
Persaud is the father of two boys:
Michael, 11 and Davin, 15. Before becoming
a fisherman, he farmed in Essequibo.