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Guardia Nacional fail to deliver fishermen

Published: 
Monday, April 16, 2018
Heermatie Sanker cries for her husband Awardnath Hajarie and son Nicholas Hajarie yesterday in Cedros. PICTURE KRISTIAN DE SILVA

Heermatie Sanker collapsed in grief yesterday after getting disappointing news that Venezuela’s Guardia Nacional had failed to deliver her husband Awardnath Hajarie, son Nicholas Hajarie and friend Shammi Seepersad, as expected.

She was seen clutching her chest while running towards a Coast Guard boat at Cedros Bay yesterday.

The three fishermen were detained by the Guardia Nacional on April 5 and were supposed to have been dropped off at Soldado Rock at 11 am yesterday into the custody of the T&T Coast Guard. This was the same area where they were chased and detained. The incident was recorded by an oil worker on a nearby rig.

The three fishermen were charged with fishing in Venezuelan waters and reprimanded by a magistrate in Tucupita.

Public Relations Officer of the TT Coast Guard, Lt Sheron Manswell confirmed that the men were scheduled to be brought home yesterday, but when the TT Coast Guard left to make the pick-up, they were informed that the Guardia Nacional could not make the delivery because they had no fuel.

Sanker, who has been waiting for 15 days to be reunited with her loved ones, said she did not know what to do.

With tears streaming down her face, Sanker sobbed, “Why are they keeping my husband and son there so long. My husband is a sick man. He was in the Venezuelan hospital in a critical condition. He suffering from heart disease, cholesterol and high blood pressure. He had a surgery on his neck, his two foot not good. They not telling me anything. I wish they could tell me so I can know they are okay but nobody telling me nothing.”

She said her house had no food and despite his condition, this was why Hajarie left home on April 5 to go fishing.

“Who going to mind me? It real hard. I have no money, not even a dollar. A fella give me $10 this morning and I used that to buy a sweet drink and a cake,” Heermatie said.

She added that on the day they left for fishing she told her husband not to go.

“He was not feeling well but he said if he don’t go to fish how will we get money to live.”

She said on Easter weekend, the Guardia Nacional chased another group of fishermen into T&T waters but did not apprehend them.

“They threw some fishermen on the winker and took their boat and engine. I tell my husband don’t go and he said he don’t feel to go but he have to go,” Heermatie said.

Heermatie and her husband are expected to wed in a civil ceremony on May 16.

Councillor for Cedros, Shankar Teelucksingh said up to 8 am yesterday, Lt Hernandez from the Cedros base confirmed that the men were due to be brought home by the Guardia Nacional. However, at 11 am, when the pick-up should have been done, Teelucksingh said they were told the vessel had some problems.

“The T&T Coast Guard vessel is still anchored out there waiting. Our representative from the T&T Embassy in Venezuela has not given the instruction for our vessels to go into Venezuelans waters to get back our citizens.

One phone call from the Ministry of National Security authorising the T&T Coast Guard to go Venezuela to enter their waters could have prevented the suffering of this family,” Teelucksingh said.

He said Hajarie was sick.

“We don’t know their health, their whereabouts. Conditions there are harsh and today is 12 days in a detention centre with no food, medication. The Government must intervene now,” Teelucksingh said.

Calls to the cellular phone of Minister Edmund Dillon went unanswered.

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