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Public Security ministry hits brick wall as fishermen reject guns, stronger police marine wing possible

by Zena Henry

Ministry of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan says that he is having a hard time convincing fishermen to consider arms to protect themselves against pirates while conducting fishing operations in the countries waters.

The Minister said fishermen are reluctant to take arms with them on fishing trips, but desire authorities to patrol the waters while they are working.

“I don’t know what then will be the option,” the minister said as he suggested that this idea was too expensive.

Relating to the arms, Ramjattan said, “That suggestion is coming with some criticism, even from some fishermen. They would prefer that we have patrols in mid ocean with them… I told them that is too expensive.”

The minister said the other option is to arm them, “and whenever anybody comes to attack them they can take care of themselves; but a lot of them seem reluctant to do that.”

The minister noted however that he became aware of an anti-piracy plan which he learnt about via a letter writer. The minister said he has asked his Permanent Secretary to get up the plan which includes the setting up of a marine wing within the force. “I like the idea and I would like to speak to that person,” the minister posited.

‘Strategy for the Conduct of Effective Antipiracy Patrols in the Territorial Sea and Rivers of the Republic of Guyana’ was submitted to the then Ministry of Home Affairs in February, 2013 and this document was accepted and acted upon, former GDF Coast Guard Captain, and National Awardee, Rouchie E W Adams wrote in one of the dailies Friday June 3.

The document, he said, details the area of the territorial sea as well as the ten main waterways which provide access to the mainland from the Atlantic Ocean.

He said however that, “It was made abundantly clear that regardless of equipment acquired for the Marine Section of the Guyana Police Force, policemen cannot be expected to conduct maritime operations unless they are first trained in seamanship and nautical knowledge, after which they must embark on special maritime operations and sea training.”

Ramjattan said he would be looking to see how much of that plan could be implemented.