President declares day of mourning in memory of slain fishermen

President David Granger yesterday issued a proclamation declaring Monday, June 25th as a National Day of mourning in memory of the more than one dozen fishermen who lost their lives in the deadly attacks that occurred between April 27th and May 3rd, 2018 off the coast of Suriname.

The proclamation, which was released by the Ministry of Presidency, states that the day should be “a solemn memorial” to the Guyanese fishermen who were massacred.

With the proclamation, the President called on all authorities, boards, commissions, corporations, public agencies, ministries and citizens to fly the national flag at half-staff to demonstrate “solidarity with the families of those killed in these grisly and gruesome acts and to accord due homage, respect and reverence to the memory of the victims.”

“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,” Granger had told reporters on May 3rd as he announced government’s intention to observe public mourning.

On April 27th, four boats carrying a total of 20 persons were attacked off the coast of Suriname.

It was reported that each boat was occupied by five persons, comprising the captain and four fishermen.

The perpetrators, reportedly armed with guns and cutlasses, chopped and beat the fishermen before robbing them. Some of the men were ordered to jump overboard with their injuries, while others were thrown overboard with batteries strapped to their legs.

Four men who survived the attack swam until they were rescued by passing vessels. Two weeks later, another survivor was found.

Those feared dead have been identified as 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; Rajkumar Bissessar; Randy Burnette; and Olenski Maxwell. Three other fishermen are still to be identified.

One week later there was another attack out on the coast of the Matapica Canal, approximately eight miles from the mouth of the Paramaribo River, which claimed the life of Hardeo Beechan, called Ganesh, 32.

Beechan was the captain of the boat which was attacked.

Following the attacks, the local police had collaborated with their counterparts in Suriname, leading to several arrests.

Among those held were Premnauth Persaud, also known as ‘Sinbad,’ and Nakool Manohar, also known as ‘Fyah,’ who were jointly charged in connection with the attacks.

They were jointly charged with the murder of Mohabir and Sarjoo.

A nineteen-year-old teenager, Alexander Denheart, was also charged with the murder of Mohabir. The three are currently on remand.

Persaud is said to be the ring leader of the gang that carried out the attack.

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