By Sue-Ann Wayow
THIS Saturday, February, 25, 2023 will be exactly one year since the four underwater divers went missing in a pipeline at Paria Fuel Trading Company facilities.
The bodies of Fyzal Kurban, Rishi Nagassar, Kazim Ali Jr and Yusuf Henry were pulled from the 30 inch pipeline days later.
To remember the lives of the men who have been hailed as heroes, a memorial service was held on Thursday.
The service was organised by Member of Parliament for Couva South Rudranath Indarsingh and held at his office at Camden Road Couva.
Together with Christopher Boodram, the sole survivor of the accident, family members of the men who died shared thoughts and tributes.
Dressed in white with tears in their eyes, it was no easy task for them to stand and say a few words, as they spoke of the painful memories they had to live with over the past year.
Celisha Kurban, wife of Fyzal Kurban, Nicole Greenidge, mother of Yusuf Henry and Vanessa Kussie, wife of Rishi Nagassar told of their hardships emotionally, mentally and financially having lost their loved ones.
Celisha Kurban said she found a new friend in Kussie since the incident.
Greenidge who has lost more than one son, spoke of a mother’s pain of having her children die before her and wished those days never existed.
Kussie, told the tale of her love story with Nagassar when they met 13 years ago at a bar in Marabella that she owned and worked which he would frequent the bar to drink two ginsengs daily.
Those 13 years were the best of her life.
To this day, their son Nashhik still cries for his father asking for him daily.
Nashhik was two years old when Nagassar died.
Kussie also used the opportunity to speak about the communication and actions by Paria since last February.
To Paria, she said, “Let us mourn in peace.”
Messages were also given by Imam Rasheed Karim, Swami Prakashananda and Pastor Clive Dottin.
They all spoke about the difficulty that the relatives continue to face and encouraged others to continue to provide social support and comfort to them.
The ministers of religion pledged to assist in any way they could with Swami Prakashananda promising to assist a child with free education up until Form Six.
Dottin also told Boodram he felt inspired when he saw a family photo of Boodram with his wife and children.
The evidentiary hearings of the Commission of Enquiry into the circumstances surrounding the deaths of the men have been completed and a final report is expected to be delivered to the President by the end of April.
Dottin said he has hope in the report that it will be a just and fair one.
“I am hoping that something tangible and meaningful will come out of the report.”
Others agreed with him that justice will be served.
Dottin also said he hoped that the deaths of the divers will be catalyst, a turning point for justice in society.
Boodram’s wounds still open
Boodram admitted that when thinking about what he would say on Thursday, he felt so much rage within.
He said, “For me, my wounds are still deeply open. I feel as if this thing happened about one week ago.”
Boodram said he has changed since the accident, understanding and appreciating the importance of togetherness.
“Every single day I have to get up with guilt knowing that I tell them fellas, that I will come back for them.” he said.
Kazim Ali’s family though present, opted not to speak.
Those who spoke thanked their loved ones, family members, friends and the general public for the strong support over the past year.
Gratitude was also expressed to Indarsingh and the Opposition.
There must be eternal vigilance
Indarsingh in giving his remarks said, “Today we have gathered to remember, reflect and ponder, where do we go from here.”
He said the deaths of Kurban, Ali Jr, Henry and Nagassar must not be in vain.
“As a society we must ensure that there is eternal vigilance,” Indarsingh said.
He said, “Today in the context of that duty of care, we will continue to call upon the State to publish the full report of the Commision of Enquiry and this full report must be laid in the Parliament.”
Indarsingh also called upon the Attorney General to ensure that the report was not “sanitised in any way” upon submission.
“The State must be prepared to send this report to the Director of Public Prosecutions and examine if there is a basis for criminal prosecution,” he added.
Indarsingh said the State must also disclose the full cost of the CoE to the public.
And it must inform the country of what measures have been put in place to prevent another accident of that magnitude occurring.
Attending the memorial was MP for Princes Town Barry Padarath and MP for Pointe-a-Pierre David Lee.
As part of the ceremony, five legacy trees were planted in memory of those who died and Boodram.
Neval Chatelal also delivered an acapella version of “You raise me up.”