Ram­jat­tan to seek wit­nesses from Suri­name for ques­tion­ing over fa­tal attack on fish­ers

Stabroek News Sunday - - LETTERS... -

Min­is­ter of Pub­lic Se­cu­rity Khem­raj Ram­jat­tan will be mak­ing a re­quest to the Suri­namese po­lice, seek­ing con­sent for at least seven Guyanese wit­nesses to be re­turned here for ques­tion­ing in re­la­tion to last month’s fa­tal attack on al­most two dozen fish­ers off the coast of Suri­name.

Speak­ing at an Al­liance For Change (AFC) news con­fer­ence last Fri­day, Ram­jat­tan said that it is hoped that wit­nesses can be ques­tioned by the Guyana Po­lice Force’s Crim­i­nal In­ves­ti­ga­tion Depart­ment.

“That re­quest came in an en­ve­lope from Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice. I am go­ing to make that re­quest to the Suri­namese au­thor­i­ties. They have sent me all they have done so far on a daily ba­sis,”

Ram­jat­tan said, be­fore adding that some el­e­ments are still miss­ing and there­fore more in­for­ma­tion is needed be­fore the in­ves­ti­ga­tion can be com­pleted.

Ram­jat­tan added that al­ter­na­tively, se­nior lo­cal of­fi­cers could travel to neigh­bour­ing Suri­name to in­ter­view the wit­nesses, in­clud­ing the ac­cused per­sons and those that are on re­mand. “Be­cause we need to do that our­selves,” he noted.

A team of high rank­ing of­fi­cials from Suri­name’s po­lice force vis­ited Guyana re­cently to meet with their Guyanese coun­ter­parts as part of the probe of the fa­tal attack.

Ram­jat­tan said dur­ing the visit that the Suri­namese po­lice had in­di­cated that they were go­ing to as­sist their coun­ter­parts in gath­er­ing more ev­i­dence in the case. “… Be­cause we had asked them for more ev­i­dence in re­la­tion to peo­ple who we sus­pect here in Guyana,” he said.

On April 27 th , four boats car­ry­ing a to­tal of 20 per­sons just off the Suri­name coast were at­tacked. The per­pe­tra­tors, re­port­edly armed with guns and cut­lasses, chopped and beat the fish­er­men be­fore rob­bing them. Some of the men were or­dered to jump over­board with their in­juries, while others were thrown over­board with bat­ter­ies strapped to their legs.

Four men who sur­vived the attack swam un­til they were res­cued by pass­ing ves­sels. Another sur­vivor was sub­se­quently found. Four bod­ies have also since been re­cov­ered.

Au­thor­i­ties sus­pect that the April 27th at­tacks were a reprisal for the mur­der of Som­nath Manohar, a boat owner who was killed in a drive-by shoot­ing in Suri­name on March 30th of this year.

Ravikant Prem­cha­ran, a 23-year-old Suri­namese po­lice­man, was also killed in what is sus­pected to be an act of re­venge for the attack on the fish­er­men.

Suri­namese me­dia had re­ported that Prem­cha­ran was found dead in a ve­hi­cle on Passiebloem­straat in Para­maribo, Suri­name on May 13th. Prem­cha­ran was shot and stabbed about his body.

Manohar’s brother, Nakool Manohar, 39, also known as “Fyah,” was re­cently charged here with com­mit­ting pi­rate at­tacks in 2015 and 2016. He has been re­manded to prison.

A close as­so­ci­ate of Manohar was also ar­rested at his home by ranks of the Crim­i­nal In­ves­ti­ga­tion Depart­ment’s Ma­jor Crimes Unit after the de­scrip­tion of the boat which was used to carry out the at­tacks on the fish­ers matched his. How­ever, he was sub­se­quently re­leased on $1 mil­lion sta­tion bail as there is no con­crete ev­i­dence link­ing him to the at­tacks.

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