Search still on for Guayaguayare fishermen


LOST AT SEA: (From left) Walter Whiteman, Frank Anthony Sandy and Shaquille Charles. –

ONE of the families of three Guayaguayare fishermen lost at sea remains hopeful as the search continues, while another says they are starting to lose hope.

Shaquille Charles, Frank Anthony Sandy and Walter Whiteman left the Guayaguayare fishing port on a boat named Rango Star at around 3 pm on Friday and are yet to return.

They were reported missing by family members on Saturday to Mayaro police.

On Sunday, the mother of 21-year-old Charles, Hilda Charles, told Newsday the latest he had ever returned from fishing was after 11 pm. And even then, it was because of either engine issues or they had a lot of nets. He is the driver of the boat.

On Monday, Charles’s sister Kedasher said the family had not received any updates for the day. But she said they are “trusting God in all things.”

Joel Scott, Whiteman’s brother, told Newsday his family is distraught and that “hope is starting to get thin.”

He said his brother, 36, is always able to put a smile on people’s faces. In fact, he said when he went to make the missing person report on Saturday – his birthday – and the officers saw Whiteman’s photo, they said, “Oh gosh, no! It’s him?”

Whiteman is the boat’s captain.

“Around midday (Saturday) I just got this despondent feeling and I asked my friend, ‘You ever just get the feeling that something’s wrong?’ And she said, ‘It’s your birthday, don’t be negative.’ And I brushed it off.

“Then around 7.30 pm, my mom called me and said a friend of Walter called and said they went out fishing Friday night and never came back.”

He said on Monday morning, a BP worker who had just returned from work said he had seen the fishermen in the boat on Saturday morning.

A fisherman who returned said he too saw them on Saturday morning and they were having engine problems. When he offered help, they told him it was all right and he could go ahead.

Scott said in addition to the police and Coast Guard searches, residents and friends have been using their own boats to search or donating cash to buy fuel for the vessels.

“So far, our mom is trying to go by. But it’s just getting more and more stressful.

“Last night, she didn’t sleep and even I didn’t sleep.”

He said while the Coast Guard says it is searching, they have not been seeing any of its members during their searches.

He also said Newsday is the only media house to highlight the story.

PC Racha is continuing enquiries.

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