CoI begins public hearings today

first_imgDeadly piracy attackThe one-man Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the April 2018 pirate attacks on several fishing boats with Guyanese fishermen off the coast of Suriname will commence public hearings today in Berbice.Dead: Tilacknauth MohabirSurvivor: Dhramdeo PersaudDead: Gowkarran OutarThe CoI was appointed by President David Granger to investigate the circumstances surrounding the piracy attacks that resulted in the death of several Guyanese fishermen on April 27, 2018, in the Surinamese waters.Then on July 2, 2019, Dr Rishi Thakur was sworn in to lead the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the attack where at least 20 fishermen were beaten, chopped and thrown overboard.Dr Thakur, who has the power to summon witnesses, will investigate and present the findings with respect to the piracy attack. He is also tasked with determining the identities of those killed, the motive for the attack and possible prosecution of those culpable.In addition, the Terms of Reference (TOR) of the probe include the role of State agencies with respect to security of the firemen. The findings have to be submitted to President David Granger by September 2, 2019.According to a notice from the Ministry of the Presidency, the public hearings will commence today. The first set of sessions will be held at the Number 68 Primary School, Corentyne, from August 5 to 10, 2019. Then it will move to the GuySuCo Training Centre in Port Mourant from August 12 to 17, 2019.The hearings will start at 09:00h and run until 15:00h.Persons wishing to provide information or give evidence to the Commission are advised to make themselves available at the venues on the day of the hearings. Persons can also visit the CoI Secretariat at the CuySuCo Training Centre to speak with members of the Commission.In April 2018, four fishing boats with a total crew of 20 were attacked during the two-day period. Five of the fishermen survived after being chopped and thrown into the ocean. The bodies of only three of the missing men have since been recovered.On the one-year anniversary of the incident earlier this year, survivors and family members of the missing are still finding it very difficult to cope.One of the survivors, Dhramdeo Persaud, called “Achie Boy” had told Guyana Times that he still has nightmares. He said many nights he wakes up screaming after reliving the incident in his dreams.Survivors of the attack had reported being burned with hot oil, attacked with cutlasses and forced to jump overboard with anchors tied to their bodies at Wia Wia Bank just off the French Guiana coast in the Atlantic Ocean.Persaud received several chops to his right hand, both legs and his head before being told to jump into the cold water. He swam until he was rescued. Three of the survivors including Persaud had reported seeing the alleged mastermind as one of the attackers.In fact, he had told this publication that he does not want to discuss the incident, having received threats. Another survivor refused to say anything other than, “I am alright, I don’t want nobody to publish anything about me”.Meanwhile, family members of those missing are finding it difficult to cope even one year after. This is compounded by the fact that over the past year, several relatives have also reportedly been threatened.In fact, in January, a 16-year-old daughter of the alleged mastermind of the piracy attack was arrested at the Springlands Court in relation to threats made to relatives of the deceased and witnesses in the trial.Since the attack, four bodies have been discovered. The bodies of Mohabir and Mahesh Sarajoo also called “Cobra” are the only two that have been positively identified after the deadly piracy attack.One other body which was found in Surinamese waters is still to be identified via DNA testing while the body of Gowkarran Outar also called “Gavin” was found on the Number 63 Beach, Corentyne, on May 10, and was positively identified by a tattoo on his chest.Eleven of the Guyanese fishermen are still missing and are believed to have also died.Since the attack, two men have been taken before the courts in Guyana; Nakool Manohar called “Fyah”, the alleged mastermind, of Number 43 Village Corentyne and his co-accused Premchand Persaud aka “Sinbad”.Under the Piracy Act 2008 Chapter 14, it states that where an act of the offence is committed outside of Guyana, the person committing the offence may be dealt with in respect of the commission of the offence as if the offence had been committed at any place within Guyana or its territorial waters.The two are accused of the murder of Tilacknauth Mohabir called “Caiman”. It is alleged that between April 26 and May 3, 2018, while at sea, Manohar and Persaud murdered Mohabir.The Preliminary inquiry is still ongoing.last_img read more

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