A close relative of the Goonoo family who has just escaped worn-torn Libya, says the family kept up a prayer and fasting vigil hoping for the safe return of their loved ones. Trinidadians Arnold Goonoo, his wife Marissa Fuentes-Goonoo and their two young children are expected to land in the country before the end of the week.
Protesting youths rose up against long-standing dictator Moammar Gadhafi last week and the protests turned deadly when an unmoved Gadhafi called on militant forces to open live fire on the youths. This sparked further international outrage and prompted several countries to engage embassies to bring their citizens back home.
“We didn’t even know what was happening in Libya. Last week Marissa called and asked why we weren’t contacting her when this unrest was happening. We were like “well everything seems to be okay”, only then did she say that the Libyan media was being blocked and that the civil unrest had gotten worst,” the relative said in a telephone interview .
She said the Goonoo family was being advised and guided by a crisis management team from the international energy company and were told to wait at their home until the travel plans were finalized. She said on Tuesday alone Marissa’s plans changed five times as the crisis management team determined the safest alternative out of the country.
She said they were first advised to take a boat to Malta, and then another plan surfaced to rent a plane to Malta, but the crisis management team from the energy company where Goonoo works continued looking for the safest alternative and finally settled on chartered plane to Rome.
She said they family stayed in email contact throughout the night and have been fasting and praying since they learned of the unfolding violence last week.