Relatives of dead seamen want answers

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Eric Calliste –

RELATIVES of the men who died when their cargo ship capsized 18 days ago say they still want to know why the recovery of their loved ones’ bodies took more than two weeks.

Speaking at the Forensic Science Centre, St James, on Wednesday, Alesha Williams said she was still awaiting proper answers and had to be “fishing still” even though the body believed to be that of her husband was found along with four others.

On April 2, seven men: Dexter Chance, Devon Celestine, Eric Calliste, Owen Prescod, Quincy Baptiste, Johnel McIntosh and Derrol Small set sail for St Vincent aboard the MV Fair Chance, owned and captained by Chance.

On reaching five nautical miles north of Monos Island, the vessel, after encountering rough waters, capsized. McIntosh of St Vincent and the Grenadines and Small of Grenada were rescued shortly after.

On April 8 Baptiste’s body was found. After the boat sank and was re-floated, the bodies of Calliste, Celestine and Prescod were found on Monday.

Williams, whose husband Calliste was identified by his gold tooth, said she was “just holding on to God.

“I am still hoping that somebody going to tell me what was the keep-back in getting them off the vessel? Why it took so long? I know he is now deceased but what was the keep-back in getting them off the vessel?”

Owen Prescod –

The relatives had criticised the Coast Guard for moving “dead slow” in the rescue attempts and then the recovery of the bodies.

In a telephone interview with Newsday, Cassandra Prescod said the worst part was the lack of credible information from the authorities.

Prescod’s cousin said they had to wait at least two weeks before confirming that the bodies found were that of the men with DNA testing.

The vessel drifted towards Venezuela and had to be towed to Staubles Bay, Chaguaramas. It sank and was re-floated last week when it was searched and the men’s bodies discovered on Monday.

Prescod’s cousin also lambasted the Coast Guard for what she said was their slow pace at attempting to rescue the men and to recover the bodies. She said she had to fend off attacks from relatives in Grenada and St Vincent over how they felt the Coast Guard handled the situation.

Prescod, she said, was the father of five with the youngest being 18 months and was a “cool guy.”

Both women said the men would be cremated and their remains flown back to Grenada.

Coast Guard and owners of the vessel continue their search for Chance’s body aboard the ship at Staubles Bay.