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News > Latin America

Former Guyana President Condemns Failure to Combat Pirates

  • Guyana's former President Bharrat Jagdeo has condemned the

    Guyana's former President Bharrat Jagdeo has condemned the "lackadaisical" behavior of police towards pirate attacks. | Photo: Reuters

Published 10 May 2018

During the course of April, pirate attacks in Suriname waters killed at least 15 fishermen. So far, only five suspects have been arrested.

Guyana's former President Bharrat Jagdeo has criticized Suriname and Guyana for their failure to put a halt to pirate attacks, of which 20 occurred last month.

Guyana Fishermen Missing After Suriname Pirate 'Massacre'

During the course of April, pirate attacks in Suriname waters killed at least 15 fishermen. According to local reports, the attackers commandeered the vessels and forced the fishermen – some of whom had weights strapped to their legs – to jump ship.

Jagdeo condemned the "lackadaisical" behavior of Guyana police, who waited eight days to notify their colleagues in Suriname. Routine investigations were conducted, rather than the alert response that a "massacre" of this scale should merit.

The team of helicopters scanning the ocean for the missing fishermen in the wake of the attacks weren't even state-owned; they were hired by private parties, Jagdeo said.

The recent events are not isolated cases: Suriname police often disregard reports when the victims are Guyanese immigrants, opposition leader Jagdeo continued.

At least 95 percent of those working in the Surinamese fishing district – from boat owners to fishermen – are Guyanese and "they are there legally, they pay taxes and they expect fair representation from the authorities there."

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The purpose of his trip to neighboring Suriname, Jagdeo said, was to "raise the level of awareness in our government and to push them in a manner to act in a manner befitting (of the tragedy)."

However, so far only five suspects have been arrested by Guyana and Suriname police.

Suriname officials announced their intention of introducing recording software in the fishing district to monitor outgoing sea crafts, Guyana's Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan reported Wednesday.

The former president informed local media that his People's Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) plans on Friday to present a case to parliament and demand it intercede on the fishermen's behalf.

"We want to know what is being done on both sides… not just the backslapping or coming to say we are cooperating fully, we want to be assured the security forces of the two countries are collaborating at the highest level," he said.

Relatives of the victims have demanded information on their loved ones, which has so far been withheld by the Guyanese government.

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