GUYANESE fishermen, who were apprehended recently by Venezuelan naval forces in Guyana’s waters, remain in custody, under close guard, in Venezuela.
The fishermen, who were operating their trade along the Waini River in two groups of six on the Lady Nayera and Sea Wolf vessels, were apprehended by Venezuelan naval troops.
This act of ‘intrusion’ by Venezuela was condemned by local authorities, which have substantiated claims that both vessels, which were operating off the coast of the Waini Point, within Guyana’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), were intercepted by Venezuelan naval vessel, “Commandante Hugo Chavez GC 24”, on Thursday, January 21, 2021.
According to information from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Captain Richard Ramnarine, of the Lady Nayera, and Captain Toney Garraway, of the Sea Wolf, after being apprehended in the Waini area, were instructed to chart a course to Port Güiria in Venezuela, where both vessels, which are registered in Essequibo, and the 12-member crew, who hail from Essequibo, have been detained.
The Guyana Chronicle was informed, on Sunday, that the crew members of the Sea Wolf included Garraway, Errol Gardener, Orland Roberts, Christopher Shaw, Shirvin Oneil and Randy Henry while the crew members aboard the Lady Nayera were Ramnarine, Ramlakan Kamal, Nick Raghubar, Javin Boston, Michael Domingo and Joel Joseph.
Owner of the Sea Wolf, Kumar Lalbachan, when contacted by the Guyana Chronicle had said that the fishermen were taken before a court and then detained, pending a 45-day investigation.
Tricia Roberts, the wife of one of the detained fishermen, Orland, told the Guyana Chronicle that based on what her husband had relayed to her, the men were being detained on their boats, which were closely guarded by Venezuelan authorities.
“This is really not fair what they are doing… if they [the fishermen] were in Guyana waters then they are not supposed to hold them for so long… I hope they return soon,” Roberts said during a telephone interview on Tuesday.
She said her husband was the sole breadwinner of the house, so the longer he is out, the harder it will get for the family.
EAGERLY AWAIT RETURN
Family members of detained fishermen, when contacted by this publication, said they were eagerly awaiting the return of their relatives, because, in some cases, they were the sole breadwinner of the house. The Government of Guyana has since demanded the immediate release of the crew and vessels.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hugh Todd, on Monday, called in the Chargé d’ Affaires of the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Moses Chavez, to transfer the protest note from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Guyana to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Venezuela.
The protest note firmly condemns the illegal detention of the captains and crew of the Guyanese registered fishing vessels, the Lady Nayera and the Sea Wolf, and calls for their immediate release.
Minister Todd used the opportunity to voice his concerns on the matter, and noted that the action coming out of Caracas was distasteful.
The minister further added that based on latitude and longitude, the two vessels were well within Guyana’s territory and called on Venezuela to operate in a manner consistent with international rule of law.
This position was also relayed by Minister Todd to Venezuela’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Jorge Arreaza, during a virtual meeting on Monday.
That discussion was described as cordial.
According to a press statement from Guyana’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, both ministers exchanged views within the context of the detention of the vessels and crew.
The Venezuelan Foreign Minister assured that the crew members were being treated with utmost respect for their human rights.
At the request of Foreign Minister Todd, Minister Arreaza undertook to pursue their early release.
Both foreign affairs ministers agreed to the importance of mutual respect in relations between the two countries.
Headline photo caption: The Lady Nayera, while it was docked at home in Guyana