Search down Venezuela

Villagers and relatives wait for news of three missing fishermen at Orange Valley yesterday.
Villagers and relatives wait for news of three missing fishermen at Orange Valley yesterday.

Incessant rain in south and central Trinidad yesterday in no way hampered the rescue efforts for three missing fishermen who were brutally attacked and thrown overboard at sea by pirates. Villagers went as far as near Venezuela hoping to find the three friends, who are presumed dead.

One man at Orange Valley fishing bay told Sunday Newsday he and crew went to Cedros and near the mainland of Venezuela.

"The weather is very bad today. I am 53 and I have never stayed so long out there at sea in bad weather like this. We searched everywhere and found nothing," said the man, who did not give his name.

The three missing men are Alex Sooknanan, 18, Jason "Trevor" Baptiste, 30, and Justin Kissoon, 19, all of Orange Valley. There were among seven fishermen who were attacked by pirates and forced overboard on Monday.

Fishing crews return to Orange Valley after sailing as far as Venezuela, despite the rain, in search of three missing fishermen. PHOTOS BY VIDYA THURAB

The bodies of Kissoon’s cousin, Brandon "Curry" Kissoon, 21, Anand Rampersad, 39, Shiva "Aries" Ramdeo, 27, and Leslie De Boulet were found. Except for De Boulet, the men live at Orange Valley. De Boulet lived at Carapichaima and worked at Carli Bay.

The funerals of Rampersad and Ramdeo are expected to take place this morning at Korea Village and Orange Valley. Their cremations under Hindu rites are scheduled for the Waterloo cremation site.

Carli Bay Fishing Association president Imtiaz Khan said when the search teams left early yesterday morning, everyone hoped to find the three men.

On Friday evening, relatives and religious leaders joined together and prayed at the bay. Yesterday relatives returned praying and asking the sea to send the men ashore, dead or alive.

"The families just want closure. When the crews left... they left hoping to find something and so far, the situation remains the same. People came from all over to assist. Despite the circumstances, TT has good people. The rain did not stop people from searching in the rain. Some came and dropped off food," Khan said.

Hours after the attack on Monday, police recovered the fishermen’s six stolen engines at Sea Lots.

Police have since confirmed that Akanni "Dole" Adams, who lived at Sea Lots, was a person of interest in the disappearance of the fishermen. Adams, who was shot and killed by police on Wednesday, was one of several people police were searching for in connection the attack at sea.

Relatives were too traumatised to speak yesterday.

In a release, chairman of the UNC Youth Arm Kaveesh Siewdial said he was saddened by the recent attack which has left the villagers in a state of shock and fear.

Siewdial said: "To the people who committed such a heinous act, I want to let you all know that these young men were making an honest living and trying to support their family. It is heartbreaking hearing the cries of the families holding on to the little hope left."

Siewdial said several affected families and villagers had told him no one from Government has contacted them.

He criticised Government for being incompetent.

National Security Minister Stuart Young last week offered condolences to the affected families and denied reports of no aerial support for searches, saying national security helicopters were deployed to search for the fishermen.


"Search down Venezuela"

More in this section