Govt denies request for Komal Chand’s body to be returned to Guyana

The David Granger-led Administration has reportedly denied a request for the body of the late Komal Chand to be flown out of Havana, Cuba – to return home in Guyana.

Veteran trade unionist Komal Chand

Chand, a veteran trade unionist, died one month ago whilst receiving medical attention in Cuba.
The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers’ Union (GAWU) – the organisation which Chand headed up until the time of his demise – lamented that the Guyana Government has “abandoned” him and his family.
“A glimmer of hope emerged when it was learnt that the Government has arranged an aircraft to take packages to Guyanese in Cuba over the coming weekend. Requests were made for Mr Chand’s body and widow to be accommodated on the return flight. Those requests were not approved as the Government said it could not afford such a request,” GAWU said.
“We understand that the request would not have been a princely sum but yet the family was told that the Government, astoundingly, would have to seek to raise the required sum through donations from the society,” the Union added.
Chand’s widow also remains stranded in Cuba.
It noted that another reason for the denial is that had they allowed the body to be flown in, it would open the door to other requests for citizens abroad to be repatriated back home.
“We ask what is wrong with such requests as we have seen many other countries doing the same for its citizens. We believe it would have been much more prudent of our scarce financial resources for the flight arranged to bring home Guyanese who wish to return from Cuba once they undergo the necessary tests and take appropriate precautions during the flight. But it seems warped thinking has enveloped the minds of our decision-makers,” the Union lamented.
The Union has since written caretaker President David Granger to appeal to him for some proactive action on the part of the Administration to alleviate, in some respect, the pain suffered by Chand’s relatives.
“We are hopeful that the President would consider our request and swiftly address them to bring closure to this sad chapter confronting the Chand family. Certainly, he is deserving of the assistance of the State recognising that he has been a national leader for many years and worked tirelessly in the advancement of the rights of the downtrodden of this country he loved so dearly,” GAWU said.