By Kristen Macklingam
The family and friends of a 17-year-old student who drowned yesterday afternoon on the East Coast of Demerara are still trying to come to grips with the boy’s tragic death.
He was scheduled to sit the CXC examinations today. Reports are that Vicky Persaud had left his home with a well-know individual from the Better Hope village, also on the East Coast of Demerara, to dispose of garbage near the canal at the ‘line top’ in Lusignan.
INews was told that the young man would usually work with this individual to earn a small income when he was not at school. However, yesterday, this ‘part time’ job for Persaud led to his demise after he reportedly fell over into the canal as he leaned over to wash off garbage from his hands.
The now dead boy’s aunt, Natasha, told INews today that she was informed that Persaud fell over while he was in the company of his ‘employer’ and the employer’s son. Persaud reportedly grabbed on to the feet of the son of his employer but to no avail since it resulted in him and his employer’s son falling into the canal.
She stated that both boys began to shout for help since none of the duo could swim; and the employer jumped in after them. Sadly, the man could not swim either and all three of them screamed out for assistance with the hope that someone would save them.
When passersby and residents in the area heard the cries for help they quickly jumped into the canal to rescue the three but by then it was too late for Persaud. The rescuers managed to get the employer and his son to safety but they could not locate Persaud’s body. The police, meanwhile, were called in via telephoned.
“We call the police at the Vigilance Police Station and they take an hour and 15 minutes to get there, they kept saying how they don’t have a vehicle to come, how someone has to go to the station and so. Then when they do reach they didn’t want to go in the water to help find his body. More than an hour passed before residents there jumped in and look for my nephew’s body which they found a couple yards away. Six persons went in and search for him, but the police refused,” the distraught woman declared.
Natasha also told INews that a post mortem examination was conducted today and it was revealed that Persaud died of trauma to his head and drowning. At present, relatives of the ‘drowned’ teenager are taking care of funeral arrangements and they are hoping that the police will continue investigations to determine what transpired in the moments before Persaud fell overboard.
“I am not blaming anyone for his death but I am not covering up for anyone either. The police say how they investigating right now,” the distraught aunt added.
Meanwhile, a senior police rank told INews that it is “sad” to know that this incident occurred claiming the life of the young man. However, he said the relatives would be unreasonable to assume that there would always have a police vehicle at the station when everyone calls about a matter.
“How are we to know…would we have expected that someone would have drowned, so to have a vehicle here waiting? No, we police have other reports to attend to and other places to go as well…and further, if the police who went there cannot swim what do they expect us to do, jump in, have another casualty? The young man had already drowned so what could we have done?” he questioned.
Persaud leaves to mourn his parents, 15-year-old brother and 13-year-old sister.