40 additional Guyanese fishermen arrested and fined in Suriname
By Royan Abrams
Fishermen on the Upper Corentyne Berbice area are seeking Governments intervention in addressing an issue which has been affecting their fishing operation in the Guyana/Suriname waters and has seen over 40 fishermen being arrested and fined by Suriname Authorities on a weekly basis.
The News Room understands that as of recent, fishermen leaving the Guyana shores to do fishing in the Guyana/Suriname waters are now required to stamp their passports at Moleson Creek, Ferry Stelling, then travel to Nikerie, Suriname using the back-track route and travel back to Guyana to collect their fishing boats and equipment before heading out to fish.
During an interview with this publication, the chairman of the Upper Corentyne Fishermen Cooperative Society, Tameshwar Jairnarine said that the fishermen are not fully aware of the new requirements of a passport to fish and in the Guyana/Suriname waters and therefore should be given some time to put systems in place.
“We are licensed to fish in Suriname and we pay large amount of money for that so even if we could fill up a crew list and submit it to the Suriname Authority so they would know the fishermen then that would be ok for us, because many of these men ain’t got the documents them people want” he told News Room.
It was clarified that before this system came into place, fishermen were only required to have a valid fishermen license.
Jainarine said the new system makes it hard for fishermen on the Corentyne as most of them do not have a birth certificate, identification card nor a passport.
“Almost everyday now the Suriname authorities holding up two to three of we fishermen them and you have to go pay a fine and per boat you have to pay $75,000 to $90,000.”
According to the Chairman, the issues were raised with the Foreign Affairs Ministry and they promised to look into the matter but nothing has been done.
The fishermen are hoping that this issue will be raised with the Suriname president who is presently in Guyana on a one-day visit to discuss issues of mutual interest with the Government of Guyana.
News Room was told that during last week over 45 fishermen were arrested and fined in neighboring Suriname while over 40 were arrested during this week.