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Honours for trio who saved trapped driver
Residents of Suchit Trace in south Trinidad are being referred to as heroes after they rescued a motorist who was trapped in a car. Reports from eyewitnesses say on February 25, shortly before 7 pm, Curt Damarsingh of central Trinidad crashed his car into the Godineau River and found himself trapped inside as the vehicle began sinking below the water.
Residents of Suchit Trace heard the commotion and ran to his rescue. Among them were 26-year-old Kevin Khan, 33-year-old Jai Sampath and Fire Services officer Kazi Jackie who was off-duty at the time of the accident. The three men were honoured yesterday in a short ceremony at the ministry’s office, Frederick Street, Port-of-Spain.
Present at the ceremony was Junior Minister Embau Moheni who said part of the responsibility of the Ministry of National Diversity and Social Integration was to recognise and honour national heroes. Addressing the residents of Suchit Trace present, Moheni said: “What you have done is send a message to our nation in a time of need.”
He said citizens of T&T now lived in a time when there was more thought about taking life than there was for preserving it. He said in light of the country’s worsening crime situation, the ministry was honoured to applaud the residents for their acts of selflessness and bravery.
Minister of National Diversity and Social Integration Clifton De Coteau also praised the residents of Suchit Trace for their teamwork and compassion in saving Damarsingh. He said he was informed by MP for Oropouche West Stacy Roopnarine that many other residents were involved in the heroic act. Among them were Jai Sampath, Sunjay Beharrylal, Patrick Morally, Sudeen Lalchan, Kimraj Dan and Edward Modi.
De Coteau added: “Your acts of heroism which brought a community together, have indeed impacted every citizen of this nation. For that, we recognise your actions, your sacrificial nature, good citizenship and exemplary deed.” He hoped the courageous deed would help in the attempt to pass the National Heroes Policy.
One of the aims of the policy, he said, was to define a national hero and establish criteria for conferring national hero status. De Coteau said his ministry firmly believed the recognition of heroes and mentors was crucial to achieving sustainable development. Khan, Sampath and Jackie were presented with plaques from the representatives of the ministry. De Coteau said other residents who helped with the rescue would receive their plaques on another date.
Jackie, who has been in the Fire Services for 16 years, said he was in the area when he saw the frantic attempt by residents to save Damarsingh. After the residents had succeeded in opening the car and retrieving an unconscious Damarsingh, Jackie administered CPR. Jackie said it was “no abnormal act for a fire-fighter” but added that he appreciated the recognition from the ministry.
Sampath told the T&T Guardian while he was grateful for the praise and recognition, he hoped the act would cause politicians to show greater interest in the area and take steps towards improving the infrastructure in Suchit Trace.
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