Paria tragedy victims to be remembered at sea

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Families of four divers, Fyzal Kurban, Kazim Ali Jr, Rishi Nagassar and Yusuf Henry and lone survivor Christopher Boodram, who were involved in the Paria diving tragedy on February 25, 2022, were at a memorial service at the office of Couva South MP Rudranath Indarsingh on Thursday. – Marvin Hamilton

ON the first anniversary of the death of four divers who perished in an underwater pipeline at Paria Trading Company on February 25, 2022, the families of divers and survivor Christopher Boodram will make the journey near the scene of the tragedy to hold a memorial on Saturday.

“We, the families, wives, mothers and neighbours are going to say a word of prayer and pay or final respects at sea, closest to berths 5 and 6,” Vanessa Kussie, widow of the late Rishi Naggasar said.

She said a letter was sent to Paria requesting permission, but Newsday was unable to confirm whether permission was granted. Nevertheless, the group will assemble at the San Fernando Yacht Club, from where they would board a vessel out to sea.

At an inter-faith service on Thursday, a resounding cry for justice was made by politicians, priests and families of those who died.

Pastor Clive Dottin, Imam Nazim Hosein and Swami Prakashananda all called for justice for the families of Fyzal Kurban, Kazim Ali Jr, Yusuf Henry and Rishi Nagassar and the lone survivor of this tragedy, Christopher Boodram.

“I have great expectations of the report of the chairman of the commission of enquiry (CoE), Justice Jerome Lynch, KC.”

Pastor Dottin said he believes Lynch, “Is a fair guy, a just guy and I believe his report would be an honest one.

“I am hoping something tangible and meaningful will come out of this report. That justice will be well served and the families would feel a sense of release that these divers did not die in vain. That their deaths would be a catalyst for change in our society.”

Pointe-a-Pierre MP David Lee, who attended the service and tree-planting ceremony held at the office of Couva South MP Rudy Indarsingh, said he too hopes something good would come out of the enquiry and that the families get justice when the report is completed.

Indarsingh insisted that the loss of the four lives, pain, trauma and suffering of the families and survivor Christopher Boodram, “Must not be in vain.”

Describing the tragedy as an unparalleled and unprecedented industrial accident, Indarsingh asked if any measures had been implemented by the State, since the accident, to ensure that another similar tragedy did not occur.

“The State must tell the workers what it has done to overhaul regulations as it relates to commercial and deep-sea diving. What health and safety standards in the workplace are being reviewed and if specialist inspectors are recruited to ensure safety standards are not compromised by companies either in the public or private sector.

“One year has gone and the State continues to remain silent.”

He questioned whether the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Agency had completed its investigation as mandated by law, where such a report would be laid in Parliament.

He reiterated a call for the State to publish the full report of the CoE and for it to be laid in the Parliament in its pristine form and not sanitised.

“The State must be prepared to send this report to the DPP and examine if there is a basis for criminal prosecution.”

He also called for disclosure as to the total cost of the CoE.