Camp Groomes explosion survivors still awaiting compensation

Instead of receiving  compensation packages, Camp Groomes soldiers injured in a deadly 2000 explosion  received Christmas hampers, which they say is inadequate and are still awaiting their monies from the Guyana Defence Force (GDF).

Speaking to Stabroek News recently, one of the survivors, Winston Wade, explained that up to now none of the ex-soldiers has been able to get any positive feedback from the GDF or the government.

“Nothing properly onto now. They just get we on hold, hold hold. Them boys went in to see the Chief [of Staff Patrick West] and they just keep promising, promising but nothing ain’t happening,” Wade related, while pointing out that the soldiers’ patience is growing very thin.

Wade emphasized that all the men want is to be compensated their monies that they have been waiting for almost two decades for.

Despite trying several times to meet with West, Wade explained that they have been unsuccessful and are always being pushed back and forth. As a result, he explained that he along with the other soldiers are making another plea to the government to look into their matter and ensure that they receive their justice and what is owed to them.

On June 14, four of the nine officers, who were hurt in a deadly explosion on December 18, 2000, which claimed the lives of three of their colleagues, related to Stabroek News that they were fed up of the pussyfooting by the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), and the government by extension.

The men had explained that even though it has been almost two decades since the deadly incident, they are still emotionally and physically traumatised. While some of them are able to continue their daily lives almost unhindered, it is a struggle for others, especially Lewis.

“It’s not like we were on the streets or anywhere else when this thing happened. We were all on duty and it was not our fault. I joined the army at the age of 18 and all my limbs were intact and a day like today I can’t do anything for myself and we are not getting help from anywhere,” Colwyn Lewis, another survivor had said.

Lewis had explained that he along with the other eight survivors were pleading with the government to “properly look into the matter” since all of them have been unable to find a job since the incident. They were deemed “medically unfit” in 2013 by the GDF and as a result, have been only getting pension from the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), which they say is not enough for them to survive on. Since they have not been able to find jobs, the men related that they have to live at the mercy of their families.

In February 2014, the GDF had expressed regret for the delay in the payment of benefits to the survivors.

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