Georgetown, Guyana – (May 3, 2018) President David Granger, today, extended condolences to the families of the four fishermen, who were found dead and said that Guyana is working with Suriname authorities to find the 11, who remain missing after the piracy attack, which occurred in Surinamese waters on April 27, 2018. One of the fishermen was found alive in a poor state of health today and has been hospitalised in Suriname. The Head of State added that Government is prepared to provide whatever support is needed to bring the perpetrators to justice, noting that he is deeply grieved by the tragedy.
Speaking with media operatives on the side-lines of the Workshop for Judges and Prosecutors from the Caribbean, which opened at the Pegasus Hotel this morning, the Head of State said that since the incident occurred, Guyana has been in contact with the Surinamese authorities, who are taking the lead on investigations since the attack occurred in their territory. He added that Government will also provide support to the affected families here in Guyana. “We are deeply grieved by the tragedy. Clearly, some Guyanese have been victims and we are in touch with the Surinamese police authorities. Our Police in the ‘B’ Division, East Berbice-Corentyne are in touch with the families and we plan to observe a more formal mourning because this a great massacre; a tragedy. We have been successful in curbing piracy so this has come as a great setback and we extend sympathies to the bereaved families,” he said.
Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon, in an invited comment, said that the Surinamese and Guyana Governments have decided to observe a National Day of Mourning for the bereaved at a date to be announced, while Minister of Public Security, Mr. Khemraj Ramjattan will travel to East Berbice-Corentyne (Region Six) over the weekend to visit the grieving families. The Minister of State said that while the full facts of the tragedy are still unfolding, the Presidency, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Guyana Police Force have all been communicating and cooperating with the Surinamese authorities.
“We have provided as much assistance as the Surinamese required to assist in locating the [bodies of the deceased]. We have made contact with some persons on the Corentyne, who may have had relatives there and we have given them the assurance that we will give whatever assistance the Surinamese authorities require… We continue to cooperate with the Surinamese Police because this is a matter that is primarily in the jurisdiction of Surinamese waters and based on our mutual cooperation agreement, we have been providing whatever information we have and they have been providing information to us. We will provide all necessary support to ensure that in the first place we can actually recover the bodies and in the second instance, provide information that would help in the investigation of this dastardly act,” he said.
Minister Harmon, who also sits on the National Security Committee said that Guyanese can be assured that the Government will continue to do everything in its power to provide security on Guyana’s coast to ensure that the lives of fisher folk are protected. “We have over the last year or so brought piracy down to almost zero because of our aggressive intelligence gathering and aggressive patrolling. Piracy is an international offence and it is triable in any Court and we will provide as much information as possible to ensure that those responsible are brought to justice. This is something, we as Guyanese condemn in the most forthright manner,” he said.