A sugar worker is now dead, while several others were injured including a man who is listed as critical after a swarm of bees attacked them while they were working in the backdam at Bath Settlement, West Coast Berbice in Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice) yesterday.
The dead man has been identified as Romesh Lalaram, also known as ‘Satesh’, 56, of Lot C14 Church Street, Bath Settlement; while the injured are R. Bissondyal, Haripaul Jagdeo, K. Lookraj, D. Persaud, Khemraj Latchman, Alta Ali and Ganesh Hemraj.
INews understands that six of the injured workers were treated at the Fort Wellington Hospital and sent away, while Alta Ali was admitted and is said to be in a critical condition. Lalaram, who worked with the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) for 23 years, was pronounced dead on arrival at the medical facility.
One of the injured men, Khemraj Latchman, told reporters that he along with nine other workers were about two miles in the backdam when they were attacked by the swarm of bees. The man explained that they saw a herd of cows running towards them, while a swarm of bees were hovering over the animals.
“Then we know is bees, some men tek the canal and some try fuh run. I see Lalaram go and lie down by the tractor and I run way,” Latchman recounted in the more popular local dialect. He said he received about 50 stings as the men tried to flee to safety.
Aware that his colleagues were in danger, Latchman recounted that he lit a fire to create smoke in an effort to ward off the bees. He said the fire allowed him to get closer to his colleagues, where he lit another fire, thus being able to rescue five of his workmates who were under attack.
However, he stated that Ali and Lalaram were still at the mercy of the bees. “I put on a cloak (raincoat) and get lil diesel and throw it and the bees ease off and I go to Ali, but was still too much bees,” he recalled. Latchman said he then douse the insects with another quantity of diesel, allowing him to get to the injured Ali.
“Like he de sleeping, ah touch he and tell he fuh get up and run but like he ain’t waking up. So I shake him and then he ask me if them gone, ah tell he let we go, but he tell me Lalaram lie down deh…,” the man explained.
Lalaram was said to be lying face down and covered with bees. Latchman further related that his colleagues eventually managed to get the bees off Lalaram. However he remained in a motionless state. An ambulance subsequently arrived at the scene and took Lalaram to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival by doctors. The entire attack lasted for about one hour. GuySuCo has since launched an investigation into the incident.