Families of Paria diving victims welcome PM’s olive branch to meet

Home*Cover Story*News

Families of Paria diving victims welcome PM’s olive branch to meet

The families of the divers who died tragically in the Paria pipeline incident have welcomed the Prime Minister’s willingness to meet with them.

Diver Christopher Boodram, Vanessa Kussie, attorney Prakash Ramadhar and Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU) Pointe-a-Pierre branch president Christopher Jackman all welcomed the Prime Minister’s intent, which he announced during a press conference on Friday,

LMCS diverrs Boodram, Kazim Ali Jnr, Fyzal Kurban, Yusuf Henry and Rishi Nagassar were sucked into a 30-inch pipeline at Paria’s Pointe-a-Pierre facility that they were repairing. Only Boodram escaped.

Asked during a news conference at the Office of the Prime Minister at Whitehall, St Clair on Friday whether he would be willing to meet with the families, Dr Rowley said yes.

But he said he would not play politics with the matter.

In response, Boodram said: “I endorse the idea, providing it’s about ex-gratia payment or compensation” and takes place “with our lawyers being present.”

Kussie, who is Nagassar’s widow, told the Newsday in an terview, “I am happy to hear about this and I hope that he visits us soon or has a meeting with the immediate families as soon as possible.”

She added, “Our struggles are real and I hope that this meeting ends well.”

Kussie reiterated that the families want compensation for life.

“We have children to maintain and send to school. Our homes are not our homes anymore because our breadwinners have been taken away from us.”

Ramadhar, who represents the Kurban and Henry families, said Rowley and the families were free to meet and discuss whatever they wanted.

“As prime minister, he is entitled to meet with persons he feels that are worthy of meeting with him.”

But Ramadhar believed this meeting is a bit too late.

“As we know, the expression of compassion (for the families) would have been crucially important on a much earlier date.”

Ramadhar did not understand what Rowley meant by saying he was not playing politics with the Paria tragedy. He said as prime minister, Rowley holds political office.

But he added this is a matter about justice and not politics.