Guyana, Suriname to increase fight against piracy

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Guyana and Suriname have renewed its commitment to tackling piracy in its shared waters which has over the years claimed the lives of dozens of fishermen.

The issue was discussed between President Irfaan Ali and President of Suriname Chandrikapersad Santokhi during bilateral meetings at the weekend.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hugh Todd told the media during a briefing that collaboration with the Surinamese security forces will intensify in an effort to tackle this problem.

“We also will be focusing on anti-piracy, we know we’ve had a long battle dealing with piracy, persons would have lost their lives and that is something we have to do, we have to protect property and life. That is something we will be working on assiduously with the security forces as well as the private sector,” Todd told the media on Sunday at State House.

The most brutal piracy attack in recent years occurred in April 2018 when 20 Guyanese fishermen were savagely beaten, chopped, burnt and then dumped overboard.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hugh Todd [Photo: Keno George]
Five men survived, while three bodies were recovered and 12 are still missing. An investigation later found that the massacre resulted from a turf war over fishing grounds in Suriname.

A Commission of Inquiry (CoI) was launched into the attack and recommended that the present language that defines the Guyana/Suriname border be upgraded.

The CoI also recommended a vessel monitoring system (VMS) as catered for in the Fisheries Act 71:08 and that the Inter-Agency Piracy Task Force should be transformed into a permanent statutory body.

It is unclear whether any of these recommendations were acted upon by the former Coalition Government.

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