Youths missing at sea
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September 11, 2009
Youths missing at sea

The close-knit community of Top Sharpes, Chateaubelair, is collectively holding its breath, praying for the safe return of two young men who have not been seen since they left on a fishing trip on Saturday, August 31.{{more}}

Twenty-year-old Kenly Browne and his 19-year-old cousin Oran Isaacs left at approximately 6 am in a 12-foot wood and fiberglass boat – powered by a 15 horsepower Yahama engine – and headed north.

According to Linton Isaacs, Kenly’s father, he last saw his son on Friday morning after he had returned from taking 2 pigs to the family farm. “I asked him if he reach ah bush already and he said ‘Yes Narna’, as he usually calls me,” a distraught Isaacs disclosed.

Isaacs said that his son lives with his maternal grandmother Metalyn Browne, so they don’t see each other regularly. However, he acknowledged that his son is a great help to him. “Right now, I have to give up,” he relented.

Clotilda Browne, Kenly’s mother, said that she misses her son already. “It’s really sad for the family as Oran is my brother’s son!” she dismayed. Browne said that she last saw her son on Friday afternoon while his younger sister Clorita was braiding his hair. Speaking to Clorita, she related that she is saddened by her brother’s disappearance but trying to be optimistic about his safe return.

Allan Browne, Oran’s father, told SEARCHLIGHT that he last saw his son and his cousin on Friday at approximately noon, fishing from their small boat in the Morne Round area. Browne had been returning to Chateaubelair on his vessel after fishing in the Duvalier region. “My last contact was just a wave telling that ah gone to Chateau,” Browne said.

He further explained that the families contacted authorities on Saturday evening, but they are of the opinion that little action was taken. “Up to now the police don’t even visit us. But if is somebody look upon pickney, all kinda coastguard and plane woulda fly. It seems like ar we ya pickney nah have no value!” and irate Browne said.

However, Corporal Stevenson of the Chateaubelair Police Station, and Commander Brenton Caine, of the SVG Coast Guard Services, both confirmed that the coast guard searched the coastline and surrounding areas, but did not discover any clues that might indicate the fate of the young men. Commander Caine also revealed that the local Coast Guard service has enlisted the assistance of authorities in Trinidad, Martinique and Puerto Rico, but at press time, nothing had yet turned up.

Believing that no coordinated search had been made, Allan Browne, one of his sons, and a friend also traversed the entire coastline the following day, right up to Owia, and saw no sign of wreckage or any other indication that there may have been a mishap. Browne said that he was told that the young men might have headed to St. Lucia to meet a friend, who formerly resided in Top Sharpes, whith whom they were communicating by phone.

While Browne is the one holding the family together in this time of distress, his spouse Cornis can hardly keep it together – she complained of headaches and lack of sleep. “I just want my son back,” she sighed.

Sergeant Vaughn Miller of the SVG Police Band told SEARCHLIGHT that he is disheartened by the turn of events. “I got close to both of them while they were band cadets. They were good guys, even though a little misguided.”

Miller recalled that Oran was an exceptionally quick learner and could have had a brilliant career if he had stayed in the service. “It goes to say that we have to be more responsible as men in our community, and offer something to the youths that they can use,” the veteran musician admonished.

Reports are that the cousins borrowed the boat from one of their friends and purchased sixty dollars worth of fuel to go fishing. An experienced fisherman advised SEARCHLIGHT: “Sixty dollars gas is a lot… to go fishing just up the coast with a 15 horsepower engine. So, the youths may have intended to go further.”

A month ago, another Chateaubelair youth was presumed dead after he fell out of the boat he was manning. His boat circled the waters until it crashed on a small islet off the Chateaubelair/Petit Bordel point. The Coast Guard recovered the wreckage but his body was never found. (AC/JSV)