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Fisherman of the Year drowns in mishap at sea

Fisherman of the Year drowns in mishap at sea


The 2006 Fisherman of the Year has won his last competition and has followed in the way of his father. Glenroy “Doppy” Payne is dead! He drowned in an area off Bequia while on one of his regular fishing expeditions. Fifty four years ago while Payne was yet a fetus in his mother’s womb his father also succumbed to the deadly unpredictability of the sea.

On Friday, July 14, Payne along with Kenny Bebee and Okell McCree of Calliaqua left shore at around 7am to go fishing off the coast of Bequia in what one eyewitness described as “rough waters”. {{more}}SEARCHLIGHT understands that while they considered not going out the captain and most experienced fisherman, Payne, convinced the others to continue as planned.

They were ready to make the return journey to Calliaqua when the sequence of unfortunate events unfolded causing seven siblings, one daughter and in fact an entire community to be in mourning. “Doppy pulled the cord to start the engine and it burst,” remembered a still quite shaken Okell McCree last Sunday when he spoke to SEARCHLIGHT.

As he sat in front of his unfinished house McCree choked as he credited Doppy “after God” for making him own everything that he has including the said house, and teaching him everything he knows about the sea. “I with him since I was 16 and now I 40 years,” he sighed.

SEARCHLIGHT understands that the experienced fishermen began to pack stones in a bag in an attempt to keep the boat steady and used the rowing oars. “We called Calliaqua and told them we needed help, and also called a person in Bequia for him to solicit a vessel to assist us because they were closer,” explained McCree.

The response coming out of Bequia still has the saddened man fuming as they were informed that the guy in Bequia, who could have come to their rescue, said that he would not leave unless he received “big money” and needed some money before he left. Meanwhile the last visible hope turned sour as one of the oars broke. “We try to ban up the oar but it didn’t work,” McCree explained.

A huge swell, SEARCHLIGHT understands, took the boat and landed it on a rock and other swells threw the men over board. They held on to the boat as they kept themselves afloat in the dangerous waters until Payne let go and made an ill-fated attempt to swim to a nearby rock. “Guy why you let go the boat, you go dead!” shouted McCree as he watched his mentor and friend struggle to climb unto the rock without success. His inability to climb onto the rock was because of an injured right knee explained his sister Susie.

After his failed efforts, McCree believes that Payne was trying to return to the boat even as they were about to be rescued and was covered by three large consecutive swells and that was the end.

The following day fishermen from the Calliaqua area were determined that they must find their friend’s body and eventually saw it close to where everything happened.

His sister Angela told SEARCHLIGHT that she and her entire family are grateful for this. “We could rest better now that they found the body,” she told SEARCHLIGHT last Sunday, July 16.

As for Payne’s only daughter Ayanna Layne in Toronto Canada, she is determined to return home for her father’s funeral even if it meant that she could not return to Canada. Her cries of “I want my daddy, I want my daddy” stung the ears of her pain-struck aunts as they all tried to deal with Payne’s death.