Member of Parliament, Couva South, The Hon. Rudranath Indarsingh is today lamenting the inhumane response to the unfolding, week-long tragedy in his constituency whereby Sieunarine Gyandass, his brother Chunilal Gyandass, Kumar Lalla, Ronald Narinesingh, Vedesh Marlo, and Glen Prahalad left Carli Bay around 1 pm last Sunday to fish but fell victim to the choppy sea condition, resulting in their boat sinking.
Lalla and Prahalad were able to swim back to shore but Chunilal Gyandass and Narinesingh drowned and their bodies were recovered on Monday. Sieunarine Gyandass and Marlo are still missing at sea.
Indarsingh said that the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard (TTCG) did not respond to the SOS call until near midnight and said that their response to-date has been uncoordinated and lacks any sense of urgency to bring relief to the families of the victims.
The Couva South MP said that the National Security Council headed by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley must do a comprehensive review and assessment of the functions and service of the TTCG.
Indarsingh said he has been visiting the families and their community since the tragedy began but noted that as the Member of Parliament for this area, he has not been updated nor briefed by the various arms of the security divisions on the investigations and recovery efforts. It has been a very painful and emotional period which has been compounded by the fact that to date, the community can only see the TTCG vessel from the shoreline as none of its personnel have ventured ashore.
He said that the TTCG is supposed to be the gold-standard when it comes to ocean safety and protection of our maritime boundaries and its citizens and should have been coordinating the search with the fishermen of the area who knows the Gulf perhaps better than anyone else.
Indarsingh said National Security Minister Stuart Young had responded to his request and while he promised more assistance, the residents of Carli Bay, in one of their darkest hours, feel that the system has shown no regard for their humanitarian or protection needs.
Since the bodies of Chunilal and Narinesingh had drifted almost 80 kilometres south-east from where they jumped overboard, has the TTCG been liaising with their counterparts in Venezuela, Grenada and Barbados to seek their assistance in their territorial waters?
Indarsingh, former Minister of State in the Ministries of Labour and Finance, said that while no resources by various arms of the protective services were spared in recovering a stolen cellphone belonging to the son of a senior Cabinet Minister, it appears that a cellphone holds more value than human lives in this country under the Rowley-led PNM Administration.