Guyanese fish baron, family lead suspects in massacre of fishermen

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Authorities in Guyana and Suriname have arrested a total of 18 persons in connection with the attack off the coast of Suriname on April 27 in which 15 fishermen are feared dead.

Police Commissioner David Ramnarine Wednesday reported that that Surinamese authorities have 15 persons in custody while three persons are in custody in Guyana.

Police Commissioner (ag), David Ramnarine

Most of those arrested belong to a Berbice family with deep connection to the fish trade in Guyana and Suriname.

“It seems to be that the basis for this gruesome, heinous and dastardly attack has to do with some sort of retaliation for one of the persons in custody whose brother was allegedly gunned down in a drive-by shooting on 30th March in Suriname,” Ramnarine stated.

Minister Ramjattan said it was deeply disappointing that a time when piracy has been brought under control that there could have been this “massacre” of Guyanese by Guyanese.

Ramjattan spent last Sunday and Monday in Suriname and said he was pleased with the work done by the Surinamese. 

“What was clear to me was that everyone on the Surinamese side was concerned about this massacre, this very serious tragedy,” Ramjattan stated.

Of the 20 men attacked, five survived and three bodies have been recovered. However, the families have not been allowed to identify them because Surinamese authorities first want to conduct DNA tests.

Ramjattan said he has appealed to the families to have patience.  

Meanwhile, the Surinamese are continuing their aerial and marine patrols to find bodies and survivors. 

“Hope rests eternal,” Ramjattan stated.

He said Surinamese authorities are boosting regulations for the fisheries sector, which is dominated by Guyanese, including creating checkpoints so they would be able to know the identity of who goes out to sea and when they return to shore.

An estimated 6, 500 Guyanese fishermen are believed to work in the fisheries industry in Suriname; most are known by nicknames. 

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