Families affected by pirate attack to receive financial support – Ramjattan

The governments of Guyana and Suriname are working jointly to provide moral, financial and psychological support to the families affected by the recent pirate attack, Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan announced.

“Forms of assistance would be forthcoming…whatever form of assistance—moral, financial, psychological…even if they want to return to Guyana, we are going to assist,” the minister announced during a press conference with Guyanese and Surinamese journalists in Suriname yesterday.

The media briefing followed a high level meeting with Surinamese Minister of Police and Justice Stuart Getrouw, Minister of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries Lekhram Soerdjan and Minister of Defence Ronni Benschop. The talks revolved around the investigation into the horrific attack and the missing fishermen.

Ramjattan yesterday disclosed that Surinamese authorities have requested intelligence information on persons who are accused of being involved in the April 27th piracy attack on the high seas of Suriname.

“They have asked for intelligence in relation to those we know [that] were involved in the piracy attacks and whatever other intelligence we have. I cannot give you all the information…that is confidential,” Ramjattan yesterday said at the press conference.

Ramjattan informed that he has pledged Guyana’s support to the investigation and noted that the countries are working jointly to bring closure and justice to affected families.

“Whatever support can be given to the Surinamese authorities by the Guyanese authorities, that support would be given so we can find the culprits here so the evidence and they can be brought to justice,” he stated.

The minister further congratulated his counterparts in Suriname for the work they have put into the investigation and indicated that moving forward “lots more” work would have to be done to recover the missing bodies of the fishermen who are presumed dead.

He also reminded relatives that their patience would be required since DNA testing is necessary to positively identify the bodies and procedures need to be followed before there is closure in relation to these deaths.

The April 27th attack by suspected Guyanese pirates off the Surinamese coast has stoked fears in the fishing industry straddling the two countries and there have been calls for both Guyana and Suriname to take concerted action.

Four boats were attacked by pirates in Surinamese waters two Fridays ago, and to date, only five fishers have returned alive. The search for the 12 missing fishermen is continuing.

The missing men who have been identified are: Tilaknauth Mohabir, 50, also known as ‘Kai’; Ganesh Beharry, Ralph Anthony Couchman, 19, also known as ‘Burnham’; Ramesh Sancharra, 48; Glenroy Jones, 21; Ramnarine Singh; Bharat Heeralall also known as “Record”, 49; Sunil known as Poddock, Mahesh Sarjoo, 35 and Rajkumar Bissessar.

Three other fishermen are still to be identified.

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