A mother’s pain on Mother’s Day – No closure for relatives of NiQuan fatal accident victim

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Relatives of Allan Lane Ramkissoon at his funeral service on July 24. – Lincoln Holder

ALMOST one year since she buried her son, Allan Lane Ramkissoon, bereaved mother Christine Ramkissoon is facing one of her most difficult days – Mother’s Day.

Instead of bringing joy and happiness, this day will be filled with sadness and sorrow for Christine for her son whose life was cut short by a fatal industrial accident.

She said he son was a child who religiously bought her gifts and a new dress and pair of shoes to go to church every Mother’s Day and on Christmas Day, with her family.

Ramkissoon, 35, a pipefitter with Massy Energy Engineered Solutions Ltd, was carrying out maintenance work at NiQuan Energy on June 15, 2023, when there was an explosion at the plant. He died at a specialist hospital in Colombia, where he was flown for emergency treatment. He succumbed to burn injuries, three days later June 18, Father’s Day.

It took over a month for his body to be repatriated and he was finally laid to rest on July 24.

His younger sister, Ruth Lane Ramkissoon-Balgobin told the Newsday that as Mother’s Day and the first anniversary of his death nears, the pain and grief they felt when they lost him, has found its way to the surface once more.

“Not a day goes by without us remembering him. We can’t get over his death, but we are trying to heal and move on and not dwell on our loss.

“It hurts. It really hurts. Time has not lessened the pain and grief. ”

Observing that May 12 will be Mother’s Day, she said the anguish is almost insurmountable.

“He was the one who usually bought a dress and shoes for our mom to go to church. He would always buy her a comfortable pair of shoes or sandals because she suffers from arthritis and has challenges walking. He also bought gifts for all his sisters who are mothers.”

Asserting that they are a strong Christian family, she said for the first time, that her mom, overwhelmed by sorrow, may miss the Mother’s Day service at church.

“It is very hard for my mother who does not believe she may be able to attend church on this day. My father, Danny, is also suffering because Allan died on Father’s Day, last year.

“Last year, Dad got a gift from Allan, although Allan was not there to give it to him. There would be no gifts this year for either my mom or dad and Allan would not be here either.”

Ruth said the only gift they want is the gift of life.

“We wish Allan could be here with us today.”

She said the financial difficulties in which NiQuan Energy has descended with its mounting debt, and pending petition to wind up operations of its ill-fated Gas to Liquids (GTL) plant at Pointe-a-Pierre, has also been a taunting experience for the family

Ruth said Niquan has never contacted her family or informed them what happened on that ill-fated day when her brother was fatally injured.

“I see this trouble with Niquan, as the “hand of God” intervening in a company that has been unfair and unjust to my brother and our family.

“What is happening is my just and loving God doing his work.

“When I heard the news, I was like, God I don’t know what you are doing, but we trust you and we know that you are a just God.

“What also came to my mind when I heard, was that it is not yet a year since my brother died, and this company has come to an end.

“I also felt sad for the employees who may have to go home without any kind of benefits, because my sister and I were also retrenched from the company with which we were employed, so we can identify with their experience.

“It also brought back memories of my loving brother, who was the backbone of this family.”

She said her family was a poor family from Barrackpore and her brother who had the best-paying job, helped to sustain her family. He promised to help their mother with knee surgery and to make her parents’ home, more comfortable.

All those promises have died with him, she said.

Ruth said she was not certain if NiQuan had contacted her sister-in-law, Allan’s widow Sarah Ramkissoon, who filed legal action against both Massy and NiQuan.

The widowed woman through her attorneys had filed a settlement claim. She also requested details of investigations conducted by the Ministry of Energy, Occupational Safety and Health Authority (OSHA) and the police, as the origin of the accident was never revealed to the family.

Newsday contacted Sarah Ramkissoon to enquire about the status of her legal action, now that NiQuan is facing closure. She declined to speak.

Attorney Martin George said his company which initially represented her, was no longer involved in the matter.

In an interview with the Newsday, Ruth said while her aged parents, Danny and Christine Ramkissoon, had grounds on which to take legal action against the companies, they chose to “leave everything in God’s hands.

“Sometimes the human in me wants to fight, but as believers, we just trust that God would work out everything for our good according to his word and promise.”