Improved warning systems, information sharing needed – Ramjattan

first_img…reminded of 2015 promise to arm fishermen; another suspect nabbedAs authorities in Guyana and Suriname continue the probe into uncovering the horrific spate of recent piracy attacks for which 12 men are still missing and three bodies have been recovered, Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan has observed the need for improved Coast Guard warning systems and information- sharing.The suspect after his arrest on Sunday morning (De Ware Tijd Photo)He made these comments on Sunday in Suriname, where he is leading a team of senior Police officials who are meeting their counterparts with the aim of addressing the recent deadly attacks that occurred some 40 miles off the Surinamese coast in that country’s waters.“[We have] to ensure we have a collaborative effort on solving this crime, and emphasise the lessons to be learnt here for application for what might happen in future. Maybe we can help in Coast Guard warning systems; information-sharing must be even better,” Ramjattan highlighted.At the same time, he stressed that law enforcement authorities must pay more attention to when threats are made to fellow fishermen, so that they would have a better gauge in determining who is involved in such crimes.Based on information gathered during investigations and the accounts of survivors and relatives of the fishermen, it is believed that the perpetrators are Guyanese.“It’s basically an enterprise of murder of the most gruesome circumstances,” the minister declared.Ramjattan further stated he is so far satisfied with the Surinamese investigations. He even noted that authorities in the Dutch-speaking country are pushing for DNA testing to ensure that all bodies are properly identified.The minister revealed that Police in Guyana have sought extensions of time to further detain the three suspects held in Corentyne. The latest information revealed has brought the number of persons in custody to 27, following law enforcement officers in Suriname arresting yet another suspect in the Commewijne on Sunday morning.Reports suggest the suspect has since confessed to his involvement in the attack, claiming he was on a mission, and that his action was based on orders he had received.His arrest was possible with the assistance of some fishermen who had known him to be part of a piracy gang. However, several other persons were arrested and are being interrogated in connection with the attacks on the Guyanese fishermen.To date, seven Guyanese who now reside in Suriname have been arrested along with the three others arrested on the Corentyne. Crime Chief Paul Williams has explained that news coming out of Suriname suggest that the attacks are gang-related.Two Saturdays ago, four boats were attacked by a group of men, who brutalized the occupants then threw them overboard. Two days later, another boat was attacked, and the captain was reportedly killed. The crew is still missing. Those identified as missing are among those Guyanese who are missing from last weekend’s attack. They include: Ramesh Sanchara; Ganesh Persaud, Vickey Persaud, Glenroy Jones, Bharat Heralall, Ralph Anthony and Tiaknauth Mohabir. The bodies that were recovered are yet to be positively identified. So far, there have been five known survivors.Ramjattan was accompanied by Deputy Crime Chief Michael Kingston and Deputy Commander, ‘B’ Division, Wayne De Harte. They are expected to leave Suriname on Tuesday.Guns for fishermen?Minister Ramjattan had, in June 2015, expressed support for granting guns and ammunition to fishermen who were willing to combat piracy. He had explained that those fisherman would have had to lodge their firearms at Police stations upon their return from sea.To date, it is not clear if this policy was ever implemented. Guyana Times tried several times to contact the minister on Sunday evening for word on this commitment, but those attempts were unsuccessful.Meanwhile, Region Six (East-Berbice-Corentyne) Chairman David Armogan has called on Government to provide more assistance to family members of the affected fishermen. He also expressed conviction that had the fishermen been armed, the result could have been different.“We need to look back at that policy if we want fishing to continue to grow. We need to enable these fishermen to have radios first of all, and then we also need to give them firearms,” Armogan declared late last week. (Shemuel Fanfair)last_img read more