The three Guyanese boat captains who were earlier this week detained in Nickerie, Suriname are expected to return home in the new week, possibly by Tuesday.
This is according to Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha.
“I know they [the boat captains] are coming over Tuesday but I haven’t had much information on it. I am now trying to get information on the matter so I will ask my Fisheries Officer to do a report for me,” Mustapha told the News Room on Friday.
“I will talk to them on Tuesday when they are here,” Minister Mustapha added.
The captains were identified as Ramesh Ramchand and Mahendra Bissessar of Annandale, East Coast Demerara (ECD) and Troy Tyrell of Lusignan, ECD.
The men and their fishing vessels were taken into custody after they were reportedly found fishing in Suriname’s waters with apparent ‘false licenses.’
The News Room understands that some nine fishermen who worked on the vessels were already deported to Guyana. The Captains were detained because the license to fish was apparently false.
One of the vessel owners, Emmaleeta Singh, told the News Room via telephone on Thursday that the licenses to operate in Suriname’s waters were rented from the authorities in that country.
This is a longstanding arrangement where Guyanese fisherfolk have been fishing under an exploitative, unsanctioned arrangement wherein they rent the licenses from the Surinamese.
Based on Surinamese law, fishing licenses are only granted to citizens of that country.
Minister Mustapha on Friday reminded of an agreement to grant 150 licenses to Guyanese fishermen that was signed with the Surinamese government about two years ago. But to date, no license has been issued.
“We submitted all the information and they are making spurious claims now that they can’t give license but we have an agreement with the Minister of Agriculture over there who put it in writing and said they will create a government company to ensure that the Guyanese fisher folk is licensed and they will deliver 150 licenses,” Mustapha.
Asked what happens next if the neighbouring country does not grant the licenses, Minister Mustapha said: “We will continue to represent the issue because that was a mutual agreement between the governments.”