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Rishi Seelochan

Sascha Wilson

Relatives of three missing Trinidadian men are searching for answers following news that a vessel that left Trinidad sank in Venezuelan waters on Friday with at least 20 people, including Venezuelan nationals, aboard.

It is believed that fisherman Rishi “Shortman” Seelochan, 38, of Penal butcher Zaid “Johnny” Alladin, 26, and fisherman Vijayanand “Promo” Toophanie, both of Barrackpore, together with another man nicknamed Monkey of Moruga were aboard a vessel that left Moruga last week.

But, their families have received no confirmation that they were on the ill-fated pirogue.

The Venezuela media, however, is reporting that a Trinidadian nicknamed Monkey was one of two of the people aboard the capsized vessel who were rescued by Guyanese fishermen on Sunday.

In an interview at her Penal home yesterday, Alladin’s sister April Khan said she last saw her brother on Tuesday.

“From what I understand he went with friends to Venezuela between Tuesday and the boat that they went in it sank and we did not know anything until Sunday,” sobbed Khan.

However, she says she has no idea where he went or with whom.

When they got the call on Sunday, they began doing their own inquires and found out that he went out on a boat.

His van was found in Moruga near the river.

Khan, however, said the information coming out of the Venezuelan media has been conflicting.

‘We heard that some Guyanese boat pass and pick up two of them in the sea and went to Guyana and the person the Trinidadian he contact his family and said the boat sank and they were rescued from this other boat from Guyana and we heard the two of them were in the hospital in Venezuela and we was trying to believe that my brother was one of the persons there and then they come back again in another news it wasn’t him and so it keep going. We just going by what people saying, nothing from officials.” She says the family has not been coping well. “It real hard because we don’ knowing nothing,” she lamented.

Khan said they tried to contact the Venezuelan and Guyanese Embassy without success.

Complaining that their attempts to get information from the Venezuelan and Guyanese Embassy have been unsuccessful, she appealed to anyone involved in the investigation or have official information to contact them.

Meanwhile, Toophanie’s relatives believe that he was on another vessel and not the boat that sank in the Venezuelan water.

She said he left their Rochard Douglas Road, Barrackpore home on Tuesday to fish with Alladin, Seelochan and another man nicknamed Monkey.

Their inquires revealed that the men had to call a mechanic to repair the engine. The relative said her brother had no reason to go to Venezuela.

Following the COVID-19 restrictions last year, she said her brother could no longer operate a gaming machine because their bar had to close so he decided to buy a boat and fish to earn a living.

The family made a report to the Barrackpore Police on Sunday and the Coast Guard and Anti-Kidnapping Squad have been in contact with them.

At their home in Barrackpore, Seelochan’s wife Omatie Ramsaroop said he told her he was going fishing, but since last Wednesday afternoon she has not heard anything from him.