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Missing or dead Carib nationals could be higher

Missing or dead Carib nationals could be higher


CARIBBEAN DIPLOMATS and community leaders in New York are saying that the number of nationals reported missing or dead in the September 11 suicide terrorist attacks there could be much higher than earlier projected.

The twin towers of the World Trade Centre in Manhattan and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., were attacked by highjacked aircraft piloted by terrorists who deliberately slammed them into the buildings causing untold deaths, destruction and significant economic disruption.

Individual diplomats and community leaders from the English-speaking Caribbean give figures ranging from as low as 55 to as high as 125. And some published reports put the figures between 80 and 90.

A compilation of data on missing or dead persons from the Caribbean Community's (CARICOM) diplomatic corps puts the figure around 60.

Diplomats, however, admit that it is very difficult to give a true picture of the count since bodies recovered from the mountain of rubble at the site are not identified by nationality.

In addition, New York City officials say that it will take weeks or, perhaps, months to clear all of the rubble and recover remaining bodies.

Some bodies were also burnt to ash or beyond recognition, or blown apart in the hijacked attacks.

Besides, diplomats and community leaders say they have had to rely on information furnished by city authorities, which is often late and not always forthcoming.


Many relatives and friends, diplomats lament, have not been co-operating because they may be undocumented or illegal in the country.

"There are some concern that some people have been reluctant to co-operate because of their immigration status," said George Griffith, the Barbados Consul General in New York, in a CMC interview. "And we're hoping that Caribbean people do not find themselves in that position."

Griffith said that full co-operation is necessary because to do otherwise would jeopardise prospects of full identification of bodies or proper compensation to victims and/or their families.

Dr Patrick Lewis, Antigua and Barbuda's U.N. Ambassador, said that he, at first, doubted that Caribbean nationals would be fearful to report missing loved ones, but has, subsequently, become convinced that this may be the case in many instances.

"That's why many of us (in the consular corps), have not accepted some of the figures," he said, "knowing the quantity of nationals of those countries that exist in the New York area."

Lewis said that based on various calls he has received and made, and in his own research, he estimated the current number of Caribbean nationals missing or dead to be about 123.

"And I am quite sure it will go higher," he said.

With each passing day, hope of finding Caribbean nationals alive has been rapidly fading.

Reported numbers

Nearly two weeks since the disaster, the region's diplomats, except Guyana and Jamaica, have reported almost the same number of nationals missing or dead.

Whereas Guyana in the first week of the tragedy reported about three or four nationals missing, the latest report from Consul General Brentwood Evans puts the figure at 21.

He said that quite a large number of Guyanese worked in security services at the World Trade Center, but he could not confirm if that was the profession of those identified as missing.

The missing Guyanese nationals he identified are: Patrick Adams, Charles Gregory John, Babita Guman, Sita Sewnarine, Nezam Hazif, Amina Rasool, Patricia Stanton, Joyce Stanton, Sarah Khan, Marnauth Latchman and Ascrid Sohan.

The others are: Shivnarine Sankar, Ronald Singh, Kamini Singh, Kris Romer Bishundat, Annette Dataram, Rick Nauth Jhagernauth, Vanava Thompson, Hardai Parbhue, Shavonna Mentis and Rudy Bacchus.

Jamaica has increased from four to 15 missing and two confirmed dead, according to Consul General Dr Basil K. Bryan.

He refused to identify those missing or furnish the names of relatives or friends, stating that that may not be the latter's wish.

He, however, said that one of those dead, accountant O'Neil Hinds, a former Kingston College student, had gone to the World Trade Centre on a one-day assignment; and as he tried to escape, he got trapped in the falling debris.

Antigua and Barbuda now reports two missing, down from four in the first week of the tragedy.

Ambassador Lewis identified the missing nationals as Catherine Robinson and Esmelda Perry.

Four Trinidadians have been reported missing and one confirmed dead by Consul General Terrence Walker.

The four missing nationals were Brooklyn residents: Paula Morales, Glen Niblet, Oscar Nesbitt and Rena Sam Dinno.

The sole dead man is Anthony Portillo, an architect.

The number of Belizeans missing has dropped from five in New York and one in Washington, D.C. almost two weeks ago to one each in both cities. Stuart Leslie, Belize's U.N. Ambassador, did not identify them.

Consul General Griffith said that three Barbadians, and possibly a fourth, may be missing. He also did not identify them.

The number of Dominicans and Vincentians remains the same - one. Fitzroy St. Rose, formerly from the Canefield area, is the missing Dominican, according to Consul General Christine Parillon.

Cosmos Cozier, St. Vincent and the Grenadines' Consul General, said that Andre Colix Cox, 29, is the missing Vincentian.

Cozier said that Cox worked on the 101st Floor of 1 World Trade Centre, one of the twin towers demolished in the attacks.

Felix Calixte is confirmed missing by St. Lucia's Deputy Consul General, Patricia Louis. She also said that Charles Laurenson is unconfirmed as missing.

Grenada is now reporting two missing nationals - Jeffrey La Touche and Winston Grant, according to Janice Celestine, First Secretary at the Permanent Mission to the United Nations. None was reported missing in the first week after the attacks.

Carlisle Richardson, St. Kitts and Nevis' acting Charge d'Affaires, reported last week that, unofficially, three unidentified nationals were missing. But Richardson could not be reached for an update.

And the Bahamas' Consul General, Calvin Johnson, said that no Bahamaian is missing.

New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has said that, as the days go by, the chances of finding anyone alive beneath the wreckage are very slim.

He said that it could take up to six months to clean up the entire mess.

The overall official death toll so far has been put 231, with 168 bodies identified. About 5,422 are still listed as missing.

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