Up to 12 Guyanese now feared dead
Ex soldier left message saying he was trapped
By Patrick Denny
Stabroek News
September 15, 2001

At least 11 Guyanese resident in the New York Tri-State area have been reported missing as a result of Tuesday's terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and another - a US serviceman - may have perished in the attack on the Pentagon.

Based on information provided to Foreign Minister, Rudy Insanally by Guyana's Consul General in New York, those missing are Ronald and Kamini Singh who worked at Windows on the World, on the 107th floor of one of the twin towers; Shiv Shankar, of Richmond Hill, Anett Dataram, of South Ozone Park, New York; former Guyana middle order batsman Nizam Hafiz who also worked on the 107th floor; Patrick Adams, a former Guyana Defence Force officer and John Charles who worked as security officers at the WTC; Sabita Guman and Sita Shewnarine who worked on the 97th floor in the southern tower; and Joyce and Patricia Stanton.

Insanally told Stabroek News that Guman and Shewnarine were seen on the ground floor but have not been heard from since. Adams, he said, left a message on the answering machine for his wife, telling her that he was trapped.

Navy Information Systems Technician, Kris Romeo Bishundat, 23, is of Guyanese parentage. He was stationed at the Pentagon when one of four hijacked planes smashed into it. Bishundat resided in Maryland.

Insanally said that the Consul General was acting as a liaison between the New York City authorities and the relatives who call his office for assistance with forms provided by the NYC authorities, which ask for detailed information to assist in the identification process. The relatives have to take the forms to the Armory in mid-town Manhattan for processing and they will be contacted as soon as any information becomes available.

Insanally said that compared to the nationals reported missing for Guyana, Jamaica had five and the Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica and Haiti one each.

Meanwhile, Guyana's Ambassador to the United States Dr Odeen Ishmael, is appealing to the Guyanese communities in New York-New Jersey and Guyanese at home to come forward with any information they had about Guyanese who worked at the World Trade Center and were missing. He said that they should make contact with his office, the Guyana Consulate in New York or the newspapers in Guyana.

Dr Ishmael told Stabroek News that the consulate in New York was finding it difficult to get information about persons who might have perished in Tuesday's terrorist attacks as their relatives were still hoping that they would be found alive. He suggested, too, that persons here whose relatives worked in the area and had not returned home since Tuesday should contact the newspapers or the consulate with the information.

Dr Ishmael explained the difficulty being experienced in getting information about persons who were injured, pointing out that when names were provided the nationalities of the victims were not stated. Also, he said, some of the injured were unconscious or badly burned and had no identification. The hospitals were not allowing anyone to visit them.

Another problem, he said, was that the victims were being sent to hospitals all across New York and New Jersey.

He said that his missions were not the only one experiencing the frustration of being unable to ascertain the fate of their nationals. He said his conversations with his colleagues in Washington DC missions revealed that they were experiencing the same frustrations.

Meanwhile, Jolyon Cummings, was fortunate to have gone to work on "Guyana time." He missed the bus that would have taken him from New Jersey to his workplace on time and caught a later one. Had he been on the earlier bus, he told Stabroek News, he would have been in the lobby of the complex when the first tower was struck. Cummings works with Merrill Lynch in the World Financial Center. He would normally walk across a bridge over West Street to get to his building. "God works in mysterious ways," was how he summed it up.

Cummings said that he was asleep on the bus and became aware of comments being made by the other passengers. He asked the passenger next to him what it was all about and she told him that the World Trade Center was on fire.

He said that as they rode passed St Vincent's Hospital, he realized something was really wrong as he saw doctors rolling out gurneys and shortly after two ambulances rolled up. St Vincent's is about five minutes from the World Trade Center and he said when he looked up both towers were ablaze. He said that when the passengers on the bus saw people running down the street away from the scene, they urged the bus driver to take them back to New Jersey.

Cummings said he passed through that building for years on his way to work and called its destruction horrific and sad. He had to help in finding alternative accommodation for his firm and said he did not know when he would be returning to that area.