Minister Ramjattan reiterates call for fisher-folk to be security conscious
DPI/GINA, GUYANA, Tuesday, June 06, 2017
Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan has renewed his call for fishermen to protect themselves against pirates. This is in light of the recent piracy attack at the mouth of the Waini River, Region One and in the Corentyne River, Region Six, the latter which resulted in the death of the captain of a fishing vessel.
However, the Minister pointed out that many fishermen are reluctant to defend themselves with simple measures that can save their lives. Minister Ramjattan said that several options were suggested, “I have begged them to buy the transponders so that when they are in trouble we can see where in the ocean they are, they don’t even want to buy the transponders.”
The Minister recalled that over a year and half ago, fishermen were encouraged to purchase shot guns as a means of protection, “which to date they have not done.” Minister Ramjattan said that he finds it strange that the fishermen are unwilling to take the necessary steps to protect themselves. “Why is it that they do not want to defend themselves,” the Minister questioned. Adding, “ I will give them a shot gun, they will go to the police station, collect the shot gun when they are going out and when they coming in, they give it back. So if somebody comes with a boat at the side of them and that person attack them, they should fight back”.
Minister Ramjattan reiterated that it is logistically impossible to have police officers accompany fishermen when they go at sea.. “I will work along with them but they must understand that we have difficulties both in the amount of policemen that we have and the fact that they themselves do not want to defend themselves,” the minister said.
The GPF, the Minister noted, is working with the Coast Guard to patrol fishing areas but fisher-folk, Minister Ramjattan repeated, also have to play their role.
Meanwhile, President David Granger recently commissioned two new vessels and pledged Government’s support to the recapitalisation of the Coast Guard of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF). The addition of the two vessels is intended to ensure the protection of marine assets, prevention of transnational crime and the promotion of international and coastal trade.
President Granger said that “We are confident that the Coast Guard has the will, and we will provide it with the assets to remain in the forefront to suppress illegal activities on our rivers and our maritime waters. It will receive and continue to receive the support of the Government to suppress all illegal activities including poaching, fuel smuggling and piracy at sea. The Coast Guard must ensure that our territorial waters are kept secure”.
By: Isaiah Braithwaite