A Partnership for National Unity (A.P.N.U) Presidential Candidate Brigadier (ret) David Granger has called on the Government of Guyana to take prompt action to suppress piracy on the Corentyne. Mr. Granger, referring to a fresh series of piracy attacks on Guyanese fishermen, called on Minister of Home Affairs, Mr. Clement Rohee and Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Robert Persaud to protect Guyanese citizens and make the Coast safe.
Pirates attacked seven Guyanese fishing boats with over 35 crew members in the Corentyne on 13-14th September. Mr. Grangerre called that five fishermen disappeared near off the Coast in August after leaving Guyana on 6th August aboard the Reshma which was found abandoned.
Artisanal fishermen for years have complained previously to the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Home Affairs about violent attacks by pirates. They also sought protection from the Guyana Police Force and the Guyana Defence Force. Crews have been pounced on by gangs of pirates with fast boats and assault rifles over and over. Fisher folk earlier this year in June had called for establishment of a Special Marine Squad to fight piracy.
The administration has responded to the crisis over the years by convening numerous meetings of the Fisheries Advisory Committee – comprising the Ministry of Agriculture; Ministry of ForeignAffairs; Ministry of Legal Affairs, the Guyana Defence Force Coast Guard;Guyana Police Force; Maritime Administration Department, University of Guyana,Private Trawlers Association and fishing cooperatives – without solving the real problem of maritime security. Ministerial meetings are not enough to protect our fisherfolk from piracy. The crisis demands decisive enforcement action by the security forces.
Angry Corentyne fishermen reported told the media last week, “We are crying out for help to the heavens because the government is not listening…Imagine five fishermen are missing and are presumed dead and we have not received anything from the government, no assurance, nothing…”Another asked, “Why can’t the Coast Guard patrol the Guyana waters? The Guyana Police have been informed, but nothing comes out of these matters.”
The problem of piracy has worsened over the past 19 years of the PPP/C Administration. A.P.N.U, therefore, renewed the call for the Ministry of Home Affairs to provide the Police and Defence Forces with the personnel, vessels and resources to ensure that vulnerable Guyanese citizens are protected at all costs.