Guyana denying any connection to heist gold – Curacao media report

Two Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) officers are in Curacao in connection with the gold heist committed on a Guyanese owned fishing vessel and according to the Curacao media Guyana is denying any connection to the gold.

An article published in the Curacao Chronicle yesterday did not state when the officers arrived in that country. It stated that “the Guyanese Government do not trust the way the investigation  is going since they are not getting any information from local authorities on the case”.

The article said that Curacao officers “want to know how it is possible that 19.4 million guilders was able to go unnoticed through customs on board of the Guyanese ship Summer Bliss. In their investigation they will try to find out if Guyana had anything to do with the smuggling of these gold bars”. The money quoted in the article is reference to the value of the 70 gold bars that were stolen by armed gunmen two weeks ago, moments after the vessel was moored in Dutch territory.

According to the article, the Guyanese government denies any involvement, since no authorization was given for the transportation of the gold adding that the Guyana Gold Board, which deals with the purchase of gold, knows nothing about the gold bars.

‘The investigation into the robbery is still in full swing. The suspects are still missing without a trace”, the article said.

Minister of Natural Resources and the Environ-ment Robert Persaud told this newspaper last week that based on the paperwork out of Guyana the gold did not originate from Guyana. Observers have questioned how this conclusion could be drawn especially when the gold was on a vessel linked to Guyana. More so since a likely smuggling operation will not present authentic paperwork.

This newspaper was told that some of the gold is from Guyana but was smuggled across the border to Suriname in parts before being made into gold bars.

Generally authorities in Guyana have been tightlipped about the gold and observers have continued to raise a series of questions over the lack of information.

Sources have said that little is being said about the gold because of big players who are involved.

It is suspected that gold was smuggled to Suriname in batches over a period of time after which it was melted into gold bars and loaded in the `Summer Bliss’. Based on the information this newspaper received the vessel was on its way to Miami but made a stop in Curacao probably to refuel and was given clearance by the authorities in that country.

The Guyana Police Force are also playing a part in the local leg of the investigation and the acting police commissioner Leroy Brumell told the media on Wednesday that the vessel was last in Guyana in June this year. He said that it arrived here on June 17 and left on June 19. According to him police had received information on the owner – a name and an address, but that person has not yet been located.

Sources had told this newspaper that there is no registration record of the vessel at the Guyana Martime Administration Department (MARAD). It is unclear how in spite of this the local investigators have been able to obtain a name and address for the alleged owner.

The vessel arrived in Curacao at 4 am three Fridays ago and was attacked shortly after mooring. According to police reports, the robbers went to the port area in three different cars and guards let them inside the restricted area in the mistaken belief that they were customs officials. The men’s jackets had the word “police” in English but in Curacao the word would have been written in Papiamento, one of the island’s three official languages, as “polis.”

News agency Amigoe reported that six men, carrying guns and wearing masks and hoodies along with the police jackets stormed the ship. At gunpoint, they pushed the 51-year-old captain as well as the three Guyanese crewmen onto the ground.

The perpetrators apparently knew their way around the ship and walked directly to the three metal boxes with the gold bars which had a total weight of 476 lbs and they reportedly took only five minutes to remove them.

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