Seven pirates captured

Kaieteur News
April 11, 2007

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- firearms, bulletproof vests, outboard engines seized Police have captured seven suspected pirates who were reportedly behind the spate of recent attacks on fishermen plying their trade in the Atlantic Ocean.

A source said that a team of police ranks nabbed the suspects, including a wanted man and a female, during raids they carried out on Monday and yesterday, at Fort and Hogg Islands in the Essequibo River .

Police said that two shotguns, a pistol, five bulletproof vests, six outboard engines, a generator, two ballyhoos, a 35-foot fishing boat, nine drums of diesel, three engine leads and two toques were among items seized during the raids, which were conducted by ranks from D', E', F' and G' Divisions.

Police said one of the suspects is an Essequibo Coast resident who was jailed in his absence last January for drug trafficking.

The suspect failed to turn up in court after being granted $125,000 bail and was sentenced in his absence to four years' imprisonment and fined $125,000.

We want to believe that he was among the renegades that were striking terror on the Essequibo Coast , a police official said yesterday.

Kaieteur News understands that two fishermen who were recently attacked by pirates have identified two of the seized engines as their property.

The suspects are being detained at the Leonora Police Station and police said that they are likely to be charged soon.

Within recent weeks, gangs of pirates have terrorized fishermen from the Essequibo Coast , who have been fishing in the Atlantic and also in the North West District.

On Good Friday, pirates carted off about $2M in equipment and supplies from two fishing vessels in the Atlantic Ocean , after attacking the crewmen while they were asleep.

The fishermen, who were beaten with cutlasses, alleged that some of the robbers were boys in their pre-teens.

It is believed that the same group of pirates attacked and robbed the crew of another fishing vessel the following day in the Atlantic Ocean near Bounty Hall, Essequibo Coast .

About a week before, pirates shot Dhaniram Seenarine, of Devonshire Castle , Essequibo , in the hip after swarming onto his boat, the Lady Shanta.

The same pirates then made off with another fishing vessel, the Prince Christopher, which was on its first fishing venture. The attacks occurred in the Waini River, North West District.

In the wake of the attacks, fishermen had said that they dreaded going to sea, and had pleaded with the authorities to intervene.

Some fishermen suggested that the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Coast Guard needed to utilise the vessels at their disposal, especially since stolen engines and other booty are believed to be resold in Venezuela , Guyana 's western neighbour.

Agriculture Minister, Robert Persaud subsequently met with the affected fishermen and

reassured them that the Ministry of Home Affairs was exploring plans to improve interception and detention of pirates.

He noted that additional measures are currently being examined to compliment those already agreed on by Government.

Earlier this year, Persaud and Home Affairs Minister, Clement Rohee met separately with a group of fishermen operating on the Pomeroon/North West District coastline.

At that meeting, Minister Persaud disclosed that his Ministry was in the process of providing a sum of money to offset the acquisition of a boat to patrol the fishing areas on a regular basis.