PPP/C governments failed to address piracy

Dear Editor,

It is quite apparent that former ministers and senior officials of the then despotic PPP/C regime, have absolutely no shame in their public utterances as they chime in on numerous topics of good governance and democracy in order to score cheap political points against the current ailing and seemingly defenceless APNU+AFC regime.

Ironically, the very things these PPP people seem to care so dearly about are the exact opposite of what they practised while in government for twenty-three horrific years branded with massive corruption and rampant drug dealings.

Having said that, I now wish to address the issue of piracy, and how the PPP/C regime failed our fishermen during its terms in office. Surely, this is not a new form of crime that was birthed under the new government that got into power by a razor-thin margin in 2015. After all, most conscientious Guyanese are well aware of the numerous attacks on fishermen at sea, murders and many who were badly beaten by pirates for almost two decades. And, during those deadly years at sea, fishermen were left to protect themselves without much help (if any at all) from the PPP regime.

However, that doesn’t stop Jagdeo and his circus gang from crying crocodile tears in the arms of the victims’ relatives, and pretending to care about their current situation. It is for this very reason and more, citizens must be mindful of the political sermons by these overnight born-again crusaders of democracy and good governance who during their time on the throne have never expressed sincere interest in tackling the issue of piracy, other than their usual rhetoric and grandstanding.

After all, having spent approximately $65 billion in the security sector from 1992 to 2015, with $38.4 billion from 2001 – 2008 and the questionable purchase of nineteen boats and seventeen outboard motors valued around $68M, to date there has been no accountability, and evidence that that equipment was used for its intended purposes, as I am sure that some could have been utilized to ensure the safety of our fishermen.

Editor, over the years fishermen protested the PPP regime and virtually got on their knees and begged those in power to do something about the blatant acts of piracy. I’d like to remind folks of a protest in front of then President Ramotar’s office (Feb. 9, 2012) where dozens of understandably frustrated fishermen expressed their disgust with the PPP regime. Mr. ‘Ramkishore’ during an interview with the media, said it best; ‘Seem de only way people a hear you is when u go protest. Long abe ask fuh something do bout this pirate. Nah today is years pon years…” (Stabroek News, Feb. 10, 2012 edition)

In closing, I am calling on fishermen and their families to reject the hypocrisy of the PPP, and lay the blame mainly on the doorsteps of the Jagdeo and Ramotar regimes which for years turned a blind-eye on the problem while piracy became a flourishing illegal business. As I extend my condolences to the bereaved families, and my prayers for those who are still missing, I call on the current government to wake up and not allow our fishermen to lose hope. Sadly, in light of the recent pirate attack, not a word from the Minister of Agriculture. Oh, what a damn shame.

Yours faithfully,

Mark A. Benschop

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