Trinidad: Teen fisherman tells of ordeal in Venezuela after ransom paid with KFC

Kenrick Morgan is kissed by his sister Tracy Alexander on his return to his Moruga home yesterday.

(Trinidad Guardian) Af­ter be­ing kid­napped at sea and held cap­tive in a Venezue­lan for­est for over a month, 17-year-old Ken­rick Mor­gan has height­ened his am­bi­tion to join the Coast Guard so that he can pro­tect oth­ers from suf­fer­ing the same fate.

Mor­gan, a stu­dent of the Moru­ga Sec­ondary School, is ex­pect­ed to write this year’s CSEC ex­am­i­na­tion. He said with pira­cy be­com­ing more fre­quent and his ex­pe­ri­ence as a vic­tim, he wants to pro­tect the na­tion’s bor­ders. Al­though he has lost a whole month of class­es, he said he will be push­ing hard­er with his stud­ies.

“I go to school still. I plan to go to school and see what I get. I want­ed to come out an army man or a coast guard. I don’t think that might come through. I don’t know. I am pray­ing. My fam­i­ly is pray­ing, my moth­er is pray­ing, every­body is pray­ing,” Mor­gan said.

Mor­gan and his cousin Kendall Singh, 23, of Basse Terre Vil­lage, Moru­ga re­turned to Trinidad on Tues­day af­ter their fam­i­lies ne­go­ti­at­ed with the cap­tors for an ex­change.

Mor­gan’s fam­i­ly paid US$700 in food sup­plies and US$1300 cash and a buck­et of KFC. Singh’s fam­i­ly paid US$12,000, two tele­vi­sions, two box­es of en­gine oil, a cell phone and a tablet.

It was a re­lief for the two fam­i­lies as the kid­nap­pers had ini­tial­ly de­mand­ed US$40,000, then US$20,000 and five iPhones.

At Mor­gan’s home in Gran Chemin yes­ter­day, his moth­er, Lin­da Boodoo burst in­to tears af­ter weeks of in­tense prayers paid off.

Boodoo said dur­ing their de­ten­tion, a pho­to­graph was sent to the fam­i­ly, show­ing Singh on the ground with a gun aimed at his head.

Her heart felt re­lieved for the first time since Jan­u­ary 12 when Mor­gan and Singh left the Moru­ga shore along with a Venezue­lan col­league to fish off the coast of Morne Di­a­blo.

Mor­gan told re­porters that six Venezue­lan men ap­proached in a high-speed fish­ing boat with guns aimed at them.

The gun­men or­dered them to jump over­board. He said they plead­ed with the gun­men be­cause they would have sure­ly drowned. The gun­men took them to their home­land through a riv­er un­til they came up­on a camp in Ma­turin.

“The ex­pe­ri­ence was not good. It was very bad. I hard­ly ate, there was plen­ty mos­qui­to and bad care. Some­times we got some­thing to eat in the morn­ing and that was it for the whole day. They gave us arepa and some kind of dumpling. We were free in some bush­es be­cause they didn’t re­al­ly busi­ness. All they want­ed was some mon­ey. They had their house some­where else and they just hid us in the bush so no­body could see us,” Mor­gan said.

There was no show­er, toi­lets and the wa­ter they drank came from the riv­er.

The trau­ma was so great that Mor­gan said he con­tem­plat­ed sui­cide, at­tempt­ing to kill his cap­tors and run­ning away.

How­ev­er, he kept pray­ing and had faith that he would re­turn home. One day, a boat ap­proached and their cap­tors told them to hide as it was ban­dits.

They ran some dis­tance through the for­est and at­tempt­ed to es­cape, but Singh could not keep up. The kid­nap­pers chased them on hors­es and they even­tu­al­ly sur­ren­dered.

Dur­ing their de­ten­tion, they were moved to sev­er­al hous­es, ranch­es and camps along the riv­er trail and were guard­ed by three men.

But with weeks go­ing by and con­stant ne­go­ti­a­tion with Singh and Mor­gan’s fam­i­ly, the kid­nap­pers re­alised they were not wealthy.

On Mon­day, the kid­nap­pers dropped Mor­gan to a wrecked ves­sel be­tween Venezuela and T&T. There, his un­cle, Reynold Ramkhelawan and an­oth­er man picked him up and left the mon­ey and food such as oil, flour, de­odor­ant, toi­letries and canned items.

They re­turned to Erin and he was tak­en for a med­ical check-up and it was found that his potas­si­um lev­el was low. He spent the night with his sis­ter in Princes Town and went to the San Fer­nan­do Gen­er­al Hos­pi­tal yes­ter­day for treat­ment. Singh said he no longer likes fish­ing in the sea and his on­ly in­ter­ac­tion on­ward will be a beach bath.

Ramkhele­wan, a fish­er­man said, ap­proach­ing the wreck to pick up Mor­gan was a mat­ter of life and death. Al­though he was wary that the kid­nap­pers could have been there, armed with guns, he need­ed to bring his nephew home.

He said that fish­ing has be­come very dan­ger­ous, fish­er­men on­ly knew how to fish and it is what they have to do to sur­vive.

When Guardian Me­dia vis­it­ed Singh’s home, no one was there. How­ev­er, his broth­er Pe­ter, speak­ing by phone, said that his broth­er went for med­ical treat­ment for a swollen arm.

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