The two men who were found guilty of the 2018 piracy attack that left five fishermen dead have been sentenced to death by Berbice High Court Judge Navendra Singh.
Premnauth Persaud, also known as “Sand Bat”, 47, of Cromarty Village, Corentyne, Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne), and 43-year-old Nakool Manohar, called “Fyah”, of Number 43 Village, Corentyne, Berbice, faced two indictments for murdering five fishermen.
During the sentencing today, Persaud begged for mercy, telling the court that he is a father of two, while Monohar declined the opportunity to speak.
Justice Singh, in handing down the sentencing, said the crime was a cruel, gruesome, cold-blooded attack on the fishermen. He said based on the evidence which was presented to the court. and the fact that both men continued to proclaim innocence even after the jury found them guilty, they cannot be rehabilitated.
The trial Judge said it will be a reckless act for the court to allow them to return to society.
Between April 14 and June 3, 2018, they murdered Bandara (only name given), called “Spanish Man” or “Dora”; Lalta Sumair, called “Bora” or “Puduck”; and Lokesh De Couite. These murders occurred on board the vessel Joshua SK 1418, which was attacked by pirates.
They also murdered Mahesh Sarjoo, called “Kuba” or “Vishal”; and Tilaknauth Mohabir, called “Camion” or “Kaimon”, “Pollom” or “Palam,” and “Cold Record”, between April 14 and June 3, 2018, on board the vessel Romina SK 764, which was under attack during the incident of piracy.
Like Persaud, Manohar had pleaded not guilty to the charges upon their arraignment before Justice Singh at the Berbice High Court. The jury, after deliberating for over two hours in November last year, returned unanimous guilty verdicts in favour of the two accused men.
During their trial, Special Prosecutor, Attorney-at-Law Latchmie Rahamat, and State Prosecutor Nafeeza Baig called to testify, Doronodeo Persaud called “Archie Boy” and Deonarine Goberdan called “Tatar”, both fishermen and survivors of the piracy attack.
Goberdan was the captain of Romina SK 764 while Doronodeo Persaud was a crewmember of Joshua SK 1418. The survivors recounted the harrowing ordeal of seeing their fellow fishermen beaten, chopped up, tied to weights, and then thrown into the Atlantic Ocean.
Goberdan and Doronodeo Persaud recalled that Premnauth Persaud, whom they had known prior, was among the pirates who attacked a group of Guyanese fishermen. The pirates wore no face coverings.
Alexander Denheart called “Shame Face”, an eyewitness, testified that the piracy attack was in retaliation for the execution-style killing of Somnath Manohar, Nakool Manohar’s brother.
Somnath Manohar was gunned down on March 30, 2018 (Good Friday) in Suriname during a drive-by shooting. Denheart said that as Nakool Manohar lit the fire to burn his brother’s body, he instructed him and others that they must “go and kill out all the Guyanese fishermen like how they killed out his brother.”
According to him, Nakool Manohar ordered them to “make the sea red”, while warning them that if they did not do what he asked, Premnauth Persaud, would kill them.
He testified that he did not want to kill anyone so he contacted his sister, who sent money for him to return to Guyana from Suriname via the backtrack route.
Aside from these five fishermen, 15 others are still missing and are considered dead.
The badly decomposed remains of the fishermen were discovered in Surinamese waters, and Police had to rely on DNA testing to properly identify the corpses.
Nakool Manohar was represented by Senior Counsel Mursaline Bacchus, while Premnauth Persaud was represented by Attorney -at-Law Horatio Edmondson.