Prayers are currently reverberating throughout Carriacou and Petite Martinique accompanying that aerial and sea searches that were up to Monday continuing with the hope that a missing fisherman of L’Esterre would safely return to his family and friends.
Relatives of 76-year-old Bertrand Calliste say that he left home early last week Tuesday morning to conduct his daily fishing expedition and has not been seen since. He was at the time in his 16-footer, red with black and yellow stripes open boat, which carried the name “Dealian”.
One of his sons, Godfrey Calliste, says that even one week after their father disappeared, the family is holding on to prayers and hoping that he is safe.
Calliste points out that his father goes fishing at about 6 am and would normally return by about 12:30 pm.
However, he said that while at work on Tuesday at about 1:30 pm he received a call from his sister stating their father had failed to return home.
Immediately he said family and friends sprung into action and launched a search for him from West of Union Island all the way down to the south of Carriacou. A report was made at the police station and the local Coast Guard, which contacted other Coast Guards in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago.
At midday, on Wednesday they chartered a flight to conduct an aerial search to the west, south and north- north-west of Carriacou. His father he says never travelled far to conduct his fishing.
However, he said that what concerns them most is that a search of their father’s house revealed that he had left his VHF radio, mobile phone and life-vest at home.
Calliste pointed out that his father loves the sea. He added that this situation is not the first such one that his father has encountered.
“This is the fourth time he has gone missing at sea”, said Mr Calliste.
“The first time the tide drifted him into Isle Le Ronde where a fisherman found him the following day and on the two other occasions we had to send boats to find him”, he said pointing out that he has to stay strong for the rest of his siblings and entire family.
“Currently members of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Coast Guard and the Regional Security System are in a search for six persons who went missing on Sunday evening while travelling in a speed boat from Canouan to Mustique.
“We have also reached out to the Coast Guard department so that the search for the missing Vincentians could also include my dad”, he added saying that if his dad returns they would not allow him to set out to fish anymore and would take the boat.
Head of the Fisheries Division, Junior McDonald says that this department and the entire fishing community are holding out hope that the missing man would be found and returned home safely.
However, he says that fishermen must always heed the call of safety at sea and he is calling on families to ensure that when any member is leaving home to go on a fishing expedition, he/she must travel by all of their “safety at sea” gear.