ST. VINCENT: – The three Vincentian fishermen who drifted at sea for 11 days before being rescued and taken to Puerto Rico will return to St. Vincent Wednesday night.
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves made the announcement on Tuesday, saying that fellow Vincentians should adopt the men’s fighting spirit and solidarity.
“There is a lesson here,” he said, adding “we in St. Vincent and the Grenadines are 110, 00 persons, we are on the motor vessel St. Vincent and the Grenadines. There is a captain, we must work together and must pull things together always.”
He said the men’s survival and rescue was an “act of individual heroism, of survival, of solidarity and of caring go for one another …”
He thanked them “for being an example to us all that whenever there are difficulties we don’t simply complain.”
Gonsalves had announced on Friday that the men, who went missing on May 24, Fisherman’s Day, were rescued and were safe.
The men, Mark Denny, 47, Amron Thomas-Simonette, 22, and Walter “Colonel” Lynch, 41, contacted the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Coast Guard after they were rescued, parliamentary representative for West Kingstown Rene Baptiste said last week.
She said their vessel began drifting after it ran out of fuel.
A press advisory circulated on Wednesday said Gonsalves would welcome the men back to St. Vincent during a ceremony at the VIP Lounge of the E.T. Joshua Airport. (Go to the homepage to subscribe to I Witness-News)
They are schedule to travel from Puerto Rice to St. Vincent via St. Lucia and are carded to arrive in St. Vincent at 7:05 p.m.
General Secretary of Gonsalves’ Unity Labour Party (ULP), Senator Julian Francis, was organising a vehicle with a public broadcast system to await the men’s arrival back in St. Vincent.
Gonsalves encouraged citizens to welcome the men back at the airport, saying that residents of their Rose Place community were also organising an event.
He said the men’s conduct was “heroic” and that they had a “heroic, remarkable story”, drinking water and eating fish during their 11-day ordeal.
“… It’s an amazing story and their survival skills are just absolutely incredible. They show us what we are capable of,” he said.
“Whatever their personal weaknesses, they are possessed of phenomenal strength. Whatever their limitations, they are possessed of fantastic possibilities and these have been tested positive at sea,” he said.
“They are remarkable men. It is that very spirit that I urge young people and all Vincentians to have. Don’t look at the setback as something [about] which you must just express a concern and be negative about,” he added.
He said that had the men bickered with each other the country would not be celebrating their rescue.
“God gave us the insight and the strength and the possibilities, gave us that will to triumph, that human spirit for all of us, especially the young to soar with their wings unclipped,” Gonsalves said.
He thanked his country honorary consul in Puerto Rico Ephraim Vasquez who was instrumental in ensuring that the men were taken care of, the government of Puerto Rico and French and Trinidad and Tobago authorities for assistance in the search and rescue effort.