Opposition piracy motion a “crude, naked and opportunistic” move – Min. Ramjattan says its an attempt to seek political mileage

DPI, GUYANA, Friday, May 11, 2018

The Opposition motion which was moved in the National Assembly this evening by PPP Chief Whip Gail Teixeira was described by Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan as a “crude, naked and opportunistic” attempt to convey the impression that the government is not taking the recent piracy attacks seriously.

Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan.

Minister Ramjattan told the House that contrary to what the motion suggests, his office was in constant communication with the Surinamese authorities to secure a meeting date to discuss the dreaded attacks.

The Coalition Administration, the Public Security Minister said, has been doing a “fantastic job” at curbing piracy and even has statistics to show.

In 2016 there was one reported piracy attack, while in 2017 there were 9 reports, and for 2018 as of May 10, no reports in Guyana’s waters.

Reference was made to the numerous surveillance initiatives introduced by the Coalition and the hosting of several meetings with fishermen to ascertain their needs and provide guidance on their operation at sea.

The need for the trade to be modernized was highlighted by Minister Ramjattan, who said fishermen were advised to acquire transponders and radio sets to improve their communication with the local authorities when they encounter difficulties at sea.

The minister told the House that the fishermen were reluctant to purchase the devices. As a result, the government is mulling the idea of purchasing the devices for the fishermen who will then repay the costs through instalments.

According to the Public Security Minister, the Opposition’s motion is an attempt by the PPP to use a serious matter, which was rampant under their administration, to seek political mileage.

Updating the National Assembly on his visit to Suriname, Minister Ramjattan said the Guyana Police Force and the Surinamese authorities have agreed and are maintaining daily contact on the issue.

The authorities in Suriname are scanning the waterways for the bodies of the missing fishermen and have deployed teams from their army and Coast Guard in these efforts, the minister informed.

The two sides, Minister Ramjattan, said have been strengthening intelligence and have been meeting biannually to discuss ways of arresting the issue of piracy.

Suriname has also indicated the intention to set up ports and both sides have agreed to provide all the necessary support to families who have suffered as a result of piracy attacks.

 

By: Stacy Carmichael.

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