The recent piracy attack brings an end to three years of success in suppressing this crime, President David Granger said today while assuring that the Guyana and Suriname governments are working together to deal with the present tragedy.
“It is a great massacre, a great tragedy and we have been very successful over the last three years in curbing piracy. So this has come as a great setback and we extend sympathy to the families of the bereaved”, he told reporters while announcing government’s intention to observe public mourning.
He noted that at the moment, all the information is not available but the two governments are “in touch”.
Based on reports, last Friday evening, five pirates attacked four boats carrying a total of 20 persons just off the Suriname Coast. It was reported that each boat was occupied by five persons, comprising the captain and four fishermen.
The pirates, reportedly armed with cutlasses and guns, chopped and beat the fishermen before robbing them.
It had been reported that some of the men were ordered to jump overboard with their injuries, while others were thrown overboard with batteries strapped to their legs.
However, four men who survived the attack, swam until they were rescued by passing vessels. One of the survivors has been identified as Darmandew Persaud.
Sixteen men are said to be missing and the majority are thought to be Guyanese. (See story below.)
Granger while stating that government is “deeply grieved by the tragedy”, did not specifically speak about Guyana’s response during the brief engagement with reporters.
“Clearly some Guyanese are victims and we are in touch with the Surinamese government and also the Surinamese police authorities. Our police in B Division are in touch with families and we plan to observe …formal mourning”, he said.
He said too that Minister of State, Joseph Harmon will make a public statement “hopefully” tomorrow during the post-cabinet press briefing.