Police still to take statements from some Berbice piracy victims

A week after fishermen in Berbice came under a new spate of pirate attacks, just off the shore of No. 43 Village, Corentyne, police have still not taken any reports from some of them.

They told Stabroek News yesterday that they are still shaken by the threats the three heavily armed pirates made to kill them and burn their boats if they give information.

Kevin Narine

“We are not satisfied with the police investigations… How can they catch up with him?” questioned some of the fishermen yesterday, in wake of the statement issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs that it would catch up with Kevin ‘Long Hair’ Narine. They noted that the police cannot solve the attacks if they do not know the details of what transpired.

“They have to speak to everybody,” the fishermen lamented.

Narine, along with Rickford La Fleur, Vinood Gopaul and Vijay Seenarine escaped from the New Amsterdam Prison on June 11. Only Seenarine has since been recaptured.

The fishermen agreed with the ministry that that police ranks must be “more assertive and aggressive” in hunting down and tracking pirates as well as persons harbouring them on land. According to them, the police are not patrolling the sea enough and as a result they do not feel safe. “Money is not easy to get. We are trying to earn an honest living and have to suffer so much losses. The government should take piracy more seriously,” they said.

‘Locked down’

Meanwhile, one of the fishermen, Lallman Ramkissoon, 45, of Rosignol told Stabroek News that he had just placed his seine in the water at No. 43 Village when the pirates attacked him and his four crew members. He said boat was the fifth that the pirates robbed. At the time of his attack, the sea bandits had held about 15 other men hostage. They then transferred everyone into his boat, which was much bigger, before robbing four other boats.

After ordering the men to hand over their cell phones and the other items, they placed them into the Ramkissoon’s boat, leaving the others anchored. In all, they had crammed about 40 men in the boat and they kept travelling until they reached the mouth of the Paramaribo River on Saturday.

There, they met three fishermen from Suriname with a smaller and faster boat and they placed them into Ramkissoon’s boat as well. He said the pirates left him with enough gas to reach No. 43 Village and when they arrived they contacted the police. He also had to “beg for fuel” to reach Rosignol.

He recalled that the pirates had cut his seine and left it in the water and placed another seine from his boat into one that was anchored. The following day he went back into the water and recovered both seines. Yesterday, he was busy trying to fix the seine that was damaged.

The pirates had also chopped off a piece of board from the back of his boat to fit another engine.

During the time that they were in the water, he said they were allowed to cook. He said the pirates had him “locked down inside the boat” all of the time so he could not see while the other attacks were taking place.

Reports are that the pirates fired several shots in the air while carrying out the attacks and one of the bullets hit a fisherman in the shoulder. The incidents occurred just off the coast, between Eversham and Bush Lot.

They also rammed a boat belonging to a fisherman of the upper Corentyne and caused it to sink. That was the second boat to have sunk for the man in eight months as a result of piracy.

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