Rockstone tragedy: Body of uncle still missing

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It has been more than one day since 50-year-old Gavin Moses disappeared in the murky waters off Golden Beach, Essequibo River on Sunday, and his body has not yet been recovered.

Reports coming out of Rockstone on Monday afternoon indicated that several search parties continue to traverse the waterways in hope of finding Moses’s body.

Moses’s disappearance occurred as he went to rescue his niece, Kineanda Prince, also called “Yasha,” from the prospect of drowning, but she also died in the incident.

An official from the Rockstone Tourism Association told this publication that conflicting reports have been circulating in respect to the unfortunate incident, but, at this point, everyone is hoping that Moses’s body is found soon.

He noted that for the past 12 years the event has been staged without unfortunate incidents, but acknowledged that this has been the first year that certain precautionary measures have not been put in place.

He admitted that there were no lifeguards at the beach at the time the two people drowned; and there were no systems in place to cater for any emergencies. In light of this incident, he noted, the group will meet with the relevant authorities to review the safety measures that are presently in place.

This publication understands that on the day of the incident there were no boats at the beach. “At all times there were supposed to be boats; if not boats, at least ONE should (have remained) at the beach in case of an emergency… This must be considered in the absence of a mobile service provider,” he added.

A meeting has been planned with Business Minister Dominic Gaskin and other officials to determine what protocols had not been followed on the day of the tragic incident.

The Rockstone Tourism Association has expressed condolences to family members of Prince and Moses; and is firmly of the view that such an incident should never be repeated, especially because it has put a taint on what has been a 12-year-old incident-free event.

The association has emphasised in a release that precautions and safety are priorities, and as such, it would be working closely with the Guyana Tourism Authority and other agencies to ensure that visible demarcation barriers and signs are erected, and efficient training in first response/aid is done with all staff in preparation for other events.

The RTA has said it recognises the magnitude of the impact the Fish Festival has on the economy of Rockstone, and its significance to the future of that village, “and will be engaging stakeholders locally, nationally and internationally as it commences a full review and eventual preparation for Rockstone Fish Festival slated for October 27 and 28, 2018”.

Thirteen-year-old Kineanda ‘Yasha’ Prince of Bagotstown, East Bank Demerara and 50-year-old Gavin Moses, formerly of Goed Bananen Land, East Canje Berbice, met their demise on Sunday during the 12th Annual Fish Festival.

It was reported that Moses and other relatives had hired a private boat to transport them to Golden Beach — minutes away from the main event area — to indulge in swimming. Whilst there, Prince and two cousins, one being Thalia Clarke, experienced difficulties in navigating through the deep waters.

Moses, who couldn’t swim, went to their aid, but instead went under the water and never resurfaced. The now dead teen was celebrating her birthday on Sunday, and her now dead uncle had celebrated his on Saturday.

Attempts to contact the relatives of the dead man proved futile. An investigation has been launched into the unfortunate incident. (Bhisham Mohamed)

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