Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Oil worker in mishap cremated


Arvitar Ramkhelawan —Photo: INNIS FRANCIS

Mark Fraser


last rites: Ivan Ramkhelawan, centre, father of Arvitar Ramkhelawan, is consoled by his daughter Shevine yesterday at the Shore of Peace, Mosquito Creek, during the final rites for his son Arvitar Ramkhelawan —Photo: INNIS FRANCIS

Mark Fraser

“Mummy, let me touch daddy’s face and he will wake up.”

That was the cry of three-year-old Alex Ramkhelawan as he watched the body of his father in a simple white coffin yesterday.

The little boy cried as his mother dropped to the ground and screamed for her husband, Arvitar Ramkhelawan, who was killed when he was struck on the head by a progressive cavity pump at a Petrotrin oilfield, Forest Reserve, on Tuesday.

Lolita Maharaj, 19, held on to her one-month-old baby boy as she leaned over and kissed her husband for the last time. She then passed baby Adon over his fathers coffin, a Hindu tradition.

Ramkhelawan, 23, was remembered as a good man at his funeral service at his family’s Sudama Village, Fyzabad Branch Road, home.

Pundit Ramdeo Maharaj called on mourners to pray for the young man’s soul and to forgive him for any wrongdoing.

Maharaj said people were no longer following in the footsteps of their ancestors. “Because of this, crime and killing will not end. I want you all to forgive this man if he has said or done anything to offend you,” he said.

Ramkhelawan’s parents and siblings cried loudly as his last rites were being performed. His favourite pair of jeans were placed in his coffin.

Ramkhelawan’s coffin was carried in a procession to the decorated hearse as mourners threw rice, flowers and coins, a common Hindu funeral tradition.

Ramkhelawan’s body was cremated at the Shore of Peace cremation site in La Romaine.

The father of two was employed with a contractor hired by Petrotrin. His family said he worked with the contractor for three years and had planned to renovate his home.

The Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) has blamed Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine and top management at Petrotrin for Ramkhelawan’s death. Forest Reserve workers downed tools on Thursday against unsafe conditions at the worksite.