GGMC report shed no new light on heist gold –Minister Persaud

-says team was unable to find crew members in Curacao

Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Robert Persaud said that the report of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission officers who went to Curacao to trace the origins of gold seized from a fishing boat has provided no new insight and that the team was not able to find the Guyanese crewmembers.

Speaking to this newspaper yesterday afternoon, Persaud said that the report has been forwarded to the relevant agencies for their attention. “[The report] has provided no new insights on origin [of the gold],” Persaud said. “The team reported that the location of the crew could not be determined,” said Persaud.

The team had gone to the Dutch-speaking island to conduct their investigation into whether the gold originated from Guyana.

There had been earlier speculation that the gold might have been taken to Suriname and mixed with the precious metal from that country and then exported purportedly as having originated from Suriname.

On Wednesday another suspect was arrested in Curacao in connection with the US$11.5 million gold heist from the Guyana-registered cargo ship almost two months ago.

on Wednesday revealed that the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) report compiled by its officers will not be presented to the public.

It was revealed that the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment will now use the report for its own edification and to share with local police to plan on the next move.

Curacao police spokesperson Reggie Huggins had told Stabroek News on Wednesday that a businessman was added to the list of those arrested for the heist.

Searches of the home of this person unearthed a large quantity of cash and he is to remain locked up while the Police carry out investigations to determine his role in the heist.

Six other persons implicated in the snatching of US$11.5 million worth of gold bars were recently told that they will have to spend an additional 60 days locked up until the investigation is completed on the island.

Huggins reiterated what he said from the beginning of the investigation which is that he did not know nor was he interested in the Guyanese crew as they were ruled out as suspects.

Stabroek News learnt that the Police there would not release the names of the crewmembers, since they stated that the investigation was a sensitive one.

However, a crew member who gave his name as Raymond Emmanuel had reportedly told the Associated Press that the crew left Guyana on November 26, bound for Curacao. AP had also reported Public Relations Officer of the Public Prosecutor‘s office in Curacao Norman Serphos reaffirming what Huggins had said, that they did not confiscate the boat and that if the crew wanted to leave they were free do to so.

From the inception, observers had pointed out that the crew members were pivotal to the investigation into the origin of the gold but the government here seemed disinterested in gaining access to them.

Police Commissioner Leroy Brumell had told Stabroek News that the boat was last in Guyana on June 19 last year.


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