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…coastguard, police deployed
By Farah Bates
Three East Berbice Corentyne families are desperately searching for their relatives who are reportedly feared drowned in the Corentyne River after they boarded a boat from Suriname Monday evening en route to Guyana but never made it home.
The victims have been identified as forty-eight-year-old Sharida Hussein, of Lot 274 Pilot Street, New Amsterdam, seventy-five-year-old Baboni Harihar, of Glasgow Housing Scheme, New Amsterdam, and Alwin Joseph, a Guyanese who is said to be living in Suriname.
Joshua Samaroo, 19, during an interview with the Village Voice News late Tuesday afternoon said, his mother Sharida, had informed him that she was leaving Suriname on Monday evening and that he should go to the #63 beach and wait for her as they were expected to disembark at the said location.
“Well, we were already on our way to pick her up, and around 7:30 last night (Monday) she called me in panic and said she was scared and very cold and that the boat drop them off on some sort of sandbank and the water was getting high and she is not seeing any land. When I reach at the beach, I didn’t see anyone and so I called her phone but I got no answer; both sims were down. So, I called a few of my friends and asked them to go check at other ports where she could have possibly been at that time because when she called me it was all panic and emotions and she didn’t know where she was.”
Samaroo said he had a distressing night after not seeing his mother when he arrived at the point where she was expected to be picked up. He noted that since Monday night he has been searching and moving from one point to the next hoping to find his mother at some other port, unfortunately, he is fearing the worse as up to late Tuesday evening family members and Surinamese counterparts have been searching the river but their efforts have since proved futile.
The young man said when his mother called him and informed him that she dropped off on a sandbank, he was just about 10 minutes away from reaching the beach, however, he said within that time something may have happened since he tried contacting her when he arrived but the phone was shut off and both sims were out of service.
Samaroo, a clerk attached to J’s Printery, has been living alone with his mother in New Amsterdam since the passing of his dad some years ago. According to him, Hussein traveled to Suriname sometime last year and was eager to return home but due to the closure of the Guyana/Suriname ferry service, she was unable to do so. Wanting to return home to her son, Hussein took the backtrack route. Samaroo said he will continue searching and do whatever it takes to find his mother.
Meanwhile, Nandranie Shamsundar, a relative of Joseph said she received a call Monday evening that Joseph had arrived in Guyana and that someone should pick him up from the #63 Beach but when they arrived, they didn’t see him and calls to his phone went unanswered.
“He does normally come by me when he come Guyana so we does go pick he up. So, when we hear he reach and we send to go pick him up, we nah see he nowhere. So, we start search and stuff but nothing. They go this morning (Tuesday) time too and them nah find so they come home back.”
Shamsundar said the man’s wife and his daughter live in Suriname and are in a state of shock, given the fact that he left for Guyana and now cannot be found.
Nadira Valdez, a granddaughter of the third victim, seventy-five-year-old, Baboni Hariar said her grandmother wanted to return to Guyana for quite some time. She noted that they also received a call that Harirar had arrived at the shore but when they got there, she was nowhere in sight. She further stated that they raised an alarm and conducted a search but they have been unsuccessful thus far, trying to locate her.
“We will continue to search because it is very sad at the moment. All she wanted was to come back home, Valdez related.”
Family members said they are unsure as to why the boat captain would make a drop off on a sandbank, but according to some fishermen who were out on the #63 foreshore when this publication visited, they are alleging that the man may have hit the sandbank and thought they reached the shore.
Investigations are ongoing and the desperate search for the three continues.