President says pirate attack a great tragedy, formal mourning to be observed

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President David Granger, speaking on the sidelines of the opening ceremony for Caribbean Financial Action Task Force’s (CFATF) workshop for judges and prosecutors on Thursday said the recent pirate attack, which initially left sixteen fishermen missing off the coast of Suriname, was a grave one.

President David Granger at the opening ceremony of CFATF’s workshop for judges and prosecutors

“We are deeply grieved by the tragedy. Clearly, some Guyanese have been victims and we are in touch with the Surinamese government, also the Surinamese police authorities. Our police in the East Berbice, Corentyne division are in touch with their families and we plan to observe formal mourning. It is a great massacre, a great tragedy,” the president said.

The Head of State extended sympathy to the bereaved families and said the recent attack on what is believed to be mostly Guyanese, is a setback to the successes achieved in the fight against piracy over the past three years.

“We have been very successful over the last three years in curbing piracy. So, this has come at a great setback. At the moment, we do not have all the information, however, we are in touch with the Surinamese government. There will be a public statement made, hopefully, by tomorrow when the Minister of State gives his press briefing” said President Granger.

The attack, off the Atlantic Coast of Suriname on Saturday last, left several fishermen missing and feared dead. According to four survivors of the brutal attack, the assailants suspected to be of Guyanese heritage assaulted them with machetes and forced them to jump into the sea.  Some of the survivors recounted that several victims had batteries tied to their legs.

Suriname’s Minister of Justice and Police, Stuart Getrouw recently announced that the Surinamese government will continue their search for the missing fishermen as three bodies of the 16 missing fishermen were recovered on Wednesday night by the Coast Guard and members of the maritime police.

It has also been reported that one of the missing men was found alive, in a critical state, in the Suriname community of Commewijne after allegedly reaching ashore and walking for days.

The tragic news of the first attack comes on the heels of a second pirate attack on Wednesday, which has left a fisherman dead and his crew missing.

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