Following recent pirate attacks on the Corentyne, opposition coalition APNU has renewed a call to the administration to equip the defence forces with the personnel, vessels and resources to protect citizens and make the coast safe.
APNU, in a statement on Thursday singled out Home Minister Clement Rohee and Agriculture Minister Robert Persaud, while urging that the government take prompt action.
“The problem of piracy has worsened over the past 19 years of the PPP/C administration,” the group charged.
It noted that pirates attacked seven Guyanese fishing boats with over 35 crew members in the Corentyne between September 13 and September 14, while five fishermen disappeared in August, leaving only their abandoned vessel.
Further, it said artisanal fishermen for years have complained previously to the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Agriculture about violent attacks by pirates.
“Crews have been pounced on by gangs of pirates with fast boats and assault rifles over and over. Fisherfolk earlier this year in June had called for establishment of a Special Marine Squad to fight piracy,” APNU noted, while accusing the administration of responding to “the crisis” over the years by “convening numerous meetings of the Fisheries Advisory Committee – comprising the Ministry of Agriculture; Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ministry of Legal Affairs, the Guyana Defence Force Coast Guard; Guyana Police Force; Maritime Administration Department, University of Guyana, Private Trawlers Association and fishing cooperatives – without solving the real problem of maritime security.” It added that “Ministerial meetings are not enough to protect our fisherfolk from piracy. The crisis demands decisive enforcement action by the security forces.”
In July, the Home Affairs Ministry said it had issued general directives to the Guyana Police Force to place greater emphasis on intelligence gathering in “B” Division—Berbice—with the objective of crushing piracy.