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Oil worker’s widow calls for full probe

Thursday, March 27, 2014
Lolita Maharaj, 19, the widow of Arvitar Ramkhelawan, who was killed on Tuesday while working on a Petrotrin oil well, cradles her sons — Alex, three, and one-month-old Adon — at their home at Sudama Village, Fyzabad Branch Road, yesterday. PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH

Arvitar Ramkhelawan always believed he would die young. On Sunday he told his wife Lolita Maharaj, 19, she would have to try to move on after he died. Neither of them knew then that two days later he would be dead, leaving behind Maharaj and their two sons, Alex, three, and one-month-old Adon. Ramkhelawan, 23, a contract worker, died in an accident on Tuesday around 1 pm at a Petrotrin oil well at Forest Reserve, Fyzabad.



At his Sudama Village, Fyzabad Branch Road home yesterday, Maharaj, who has been in a common-law-relationship with him for five years, called for a full-scale investigation into his death. Wiping away tears, Maharaj was still trying to come to terms with his death. “I don’t know about anything that’s happening right now,” she said. She recalled last seeing her husband around lunchtime when he came home to collect his lunch.


Not long after she said his boss, Premnath Lalchan, came by the house and told her Ramkhelawan was in an accident. “They did not tell me that he was dead. It was only on the way when I kept asking, he told me he died,” she said. When she got there Maharaj said she saw his body but she did not get to touch him. “I am not working. He used to support me and the children. I want an investigation into what happen,” she added. While his death came as a shock, she said her husband had always told her he was going to die young. 


“On Sunday he was telling me to try and make it without him. He always said he will die early and he wanted to have children.” “He wanted to paint the house and buy a car. Last week he work day and night to get money to fix the yard,” she said. Also calling for an investigation, his stepfather, Jaglal Singh, blamed negligence for his death. He called for Ramkhelawan’s wife to be compensated. “Look where they living,” as he pointed to the small wooden house.


“If somebody starting a unit they suppose to make sure people stand a certain feet away. He was standing right by the pump. Is the rod that hit him when they start up the pipe,” he added. Unable to hold back the tears, Asha Kanhai described her son as a hard working and loving child. Singh, who witnessed the autopsy at the Forensic Science Centre, St James, said Ramkhelawan sustained injuries to his neck and face. Lalchan said he was willing to assist the family with funeral arrangements. It is tentatively set for tomorrow.


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