Guyanese Authorities denied access to detained fishermen in Suriname

Guyanese Authorities denied access to detained fishermen in Suriname

The fate of two Guyanese fishermen who were detained by Surinamese authorities after they were allegedly caught fishing illegally in Suriname’s waters is unknown, as the Surinamese authorities have denied access to the fishermen by Guyana’s official representatives in Suriname.

President Irfaan Ali on Thursday said he is deeply concerned about the development, and it will now be addressed at the diplomatic level.

“I am deeply concerned, but I do not want to pronounce, because we are not sure what they are being charged with, as yet. What I can say to you, is that we are concerned that through our Embassy in Suriname, a request by lawyers to meet with the crew that was arrested, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, just before this press conference, told me that they were denied the opportunity to meet with the crew by the authorities in Suriname. I have asked for a full investigation of this, and I have asked the Ministry to officially write to get the reasons why the lawyers were denied the opportunity to meet with them, and definitely this is a matter that we will pursue to the fullest”, President Ali told reporters on Thursday.

The two Guyanese fishermen were arrested in Surinamese waters by members of the Suriname Police and the Suriname Navy over a week ago, and there has been no information shared with the Guyanese authorities since the arrest.

According to media reports out of Suriname, the Guyanese fishermen had no license to fish in Suriname and were also unable to provide law enforcement in Suriname with registration documents for their boat.

Fishermen from Guyana have complained bitterly about being harassed by Surinamese authorities. However, Suriname has been tightening on fishing in its waters. Guyana has been seeking to acquire fishing license from Suriname to allow legal fishing by Guyanese fishermen in Suriname. However, Guyana’s request, which was made more than three years ago, remains pending.

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