Guyana Chronicle:- SURINAMESE authorities are reportedly investigating a piracy attack committed on four fishing boats in Surinamese waters, all of which vessels were operated by Guyanese nationals living and working in that country.
The Guyana Chronicle was told that of the total of 22 fishermen on board the four vessels, only six have been accounted for. The names of four of the six men are: Vishal Bicram, Glenroy Jones, Craig, and Sherwin, while the name of one of the pirates has been given as ‘Ballo’.
Reports are that the four men had swum to other boats which were in the water. Two other fishermen were reportedly found afloat and taken to a hospital in Suriname are said to be in critical condition.
The men reportedly left for sea on Friday, but by Saturday word was received that they had been attacked, and that their assailants were Guyanese. This was confirmed by the survivors, who said they know the culprits by name and face, and they are all Guyanese.
The men claimed they were beaten and chopped about their bodies, and even had several bullets fired in their direction after they hesitated to jump from their boats into the water as ordered by the pirates.
Some of ther colleagues, the survivors say, were tied to batteries which provided electricity for their boats. According to reports coming out of Suriname, after beating and torturing the men, the pirates tied them up and tossed them into the water, using the batteries to anchor them.
This newspaper was told that because the unmasked pirates were identified and called by name, that might have been one of the reasons they were so savage on their victims. Commissioner of Police Acting, David Ramnarine late last night confirmed that he had not yet been contacted by his Surinamese counterparts about the incident, and that neither was he aware of it.
NO WORD YET
Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister, Noel Holder said he’d heard of the incident, but was awaiting word from his officers on the matter. Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan could not be reached for a comment.
According to the Surinamese daily, De Ware Tijd, the pirates boarded and sacked four fishing boats on Friday evening, and that of the total 20 fishermen who came under attack, only four were found. Two were reportedly taken off their boats with head injuries, while two others were fished out of the water by other fishermen.
Nothing is known about the fate of the 16 other fishermen, who, according to the report, are all feared dead.
De Ware Tijd stated that the four vessels which were attacked by the pirates may be Guyanese in origin.
The report said that most of the vessels crew members were thrown overboard, and quotes eyewitnesses as saying that at least three of them had batteries tied to their legs.
“I was in shock when I heard my son was missing,” said Joan Parris, mother of 21-year-old Glenroy Jones.
“I cried all night and keep crying; I want to see my son… And the family in Guyana, among whom are his father and brothers, are all crying.”
According to De Ware Tijd, the four survivors of Friday night’s attack were put ashore at Nieuw Amsterdam in Suriname.
It also quotes Mark Lall, Secretary of the Surinamese fishermen’s society as saying that ever since it became known that so many boats were raided, almost no one has gone to sea.
“People are afraid,” he said. “It is not the first time that so many boats have been attacked in one go, but I have the impression that most of the deaths will now be regretted at once.”
The Coast Guard, the Maritime Police, the Navy and fishermen all set out together to the area in an attempt to see how many bodies they could salvage, and assess the situation.
Coast Guard Director, Jerry Slijngard said that after the police received the report, action was taken.
He argued for the introduction of the Vessel Monitoring System (VMS), which may be operational in one month. This system not only indicates where the boats are, but also has a “panic button” also called an emergency button, so that an emergency signal can be sent out in the event of a calamity.
“Then we know that there is a need, but also exactly where the boat is,” he said.