Volunteers searching for missing fishermen return from Suriname empty handed

The five volunteers who travelled to Suriname to assist in the search for the missing fishermen returned home on Friday night without being given an opportunity to assist.

A relative of the missing Berbice fishermen told Stabroek News that the volunteers returned home after Surinamese officials told them that they had conducted a search and nothing had been found. “The people said that they search and they nah fin nothing sothey [the volunteers] come back home,” the relative said adding that no one knows what the next move will be.

The relative stated that everyone is just trying to keep the faith and that they were planning to keep a prayer ceremony for the missing men.

The volunteers had travelled to the neighbouring territory last Friday morning where they were supposed to meet officials. Surinamese authorities have conducted at least one aerial search but no clues were found.

When contacted by Stabroek News, Chairman of the Upper Corentyne Fishermen’s Coop Society, Indar Rampersaud said that there is no new information s and that the volunteers have returned.

He later attacked Stabroek News over a comment in our report carried in yesterday’s edition in which Editor in Chief Anand Persaud said that this newspaper was the first to report that the men were missing. (Persaud had been responding at the time to an attack on the paper by Minister Robert Persaud and had pointed out that the authorities had had several days in which to report the men missing, but had not availed themselves of the opportunity, and it was only when Stabroek News carried the story that “a flurry of steps was announced.”)

“Everyone suppose to work together you know,” Rampersaud said, going on to remark that he will no longer be giving information to the Stabroek News.

Those missing are Khemraj and Narine Dhanpat, known as ‘Rajan’ and ‘Shrimp,’ respectively, both of Number 64 Village, Corentyne; Ramnarine Oditnarine, called ‘Rodney,’ of Number 64 Village; Clifford Singh, called ‘Eggan’ of Number 62 Village; and Sumesh Martin, called ‘Canje,’ of Number 64 Village.

Foul play was suspected after the boat was discovered empty in Suriname two Saturdays ago, 17 days after the five men had set sail.

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