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‘Drowned’ man stops own wake

Published: 
Friday, April 20, 2018

While the T&T Coast Guard searched for him and villagers prepared for his wake, Arnold Buxo, who was feared drowned at Mosquito Creek on Wednesday, turned up alive yesterday.

Buxo, 49, of Bamboo Village, South Oropouche, had gone with his friend Errol Ramsaran to catch conch on Wednesday at the creek, near the tunnel where the Gordineau River meets the Gulf of Paria. Around 11 am, Buxo shed his clothes and dived in but when an hour passed and he never resurfaced, Ramsaran got worried. He picked up Buxo's clothes from the rock and began searching the shoreline for him. He asked other crab catchers if they saw him. Nobody did. He then went home, praying that Buxo had reached home.

When dusk came and Buxo failed to show up, Ramsaran went to the Oropouche Police Station to lodge a report. The officers told him he had to go to the San Fernando Station, as this was outside of their jurisdiction. Ramsaran then consulted with his friend Premchand Balkissoon and they went to the San Fernando CID.

"I stayed three-and-a-half hours making a report. This morning, when I went to work, the police called me again to ask some questions and all this time that man alive," Balkissoon told the T&T Guardian yesterday.

Around 6 am yesterday, the T&T Coast Guard began searching the river and the Gulf hoping to find Buxo. By then, the media had already picked up the story that Buxo had been feared drowned and the search was on for his body. Avocat/ San Francique councillor Doodnath Mayrhoo spoke with villager Bhagwandeen Redai to organise a wake for Buxo.

Redai said, "The councillor knows that Buxo is poor so he was helping to get a funeral grant for him."

When the T&T Guardian went into the community, there were feelings of vexation, relief and laughter. Buxo was most upset.

"Imagine this man leave me like a clown in the Creek wearing only a jockey shorts. He pick up my clothes from the rock. Why he didn't leave it there?" gesturing at Ramsaran as other villagers laughed loudly.

He added, "I never tell this man to go to the police and say I drowned. I’m happy he tried to help, but he still coulda just leave my clothes on the rock."

In his defence, Ramsaran said he was worried for his friend. The men later hugged and the councillor cancelled the funeral arrangements.

When asked where he went, Buxo said his conch catch was a good one and he sold it for $140. He then bought some puncheon, hustled a shorts from a man on the beach, made a cook, limed and then reached home around 10 pm, oblivious to the search. When he woke up around 9 am, Buxo said he was astonished to hear he had died.

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