Commission to collect evidence in Suriname – Harmon

first_imgPiracy attack CoIThe recently launched Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the piracy attack on Guyanese fishermen last year will be required to travel to Suriname for to collect evidence and other pertinent information for their final report.Survivor Dhramdeo PersaudThe Director General of the Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph Harmon, explained during a post-Cabinet briefing on Thursday that the CoI will be completed in two months. Relatives of the deceased men will be needed to share pertinent information.“The CoI has been given two months for completing its work. I cannot give the cost but I can say to you that it will require extensive interviews by family members of the deceased. It will require the commission to travel to Suriname where the incident occurred and to take evidence where it is necessary,” Harmon posited.On Tuesday, Dr Rishi Thakur was sworn in to lead the commission into the attack which occurred between April 27 and 28 2018.Director-General Joseph HarmonFour 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 three of the missing men have since been recovered. Eleven are still missing and are believed to have also died.Since the attack, Nakool Manohar called “Fyah”, the alleged mastermind of Number 43 Village, Corentyne and his co-accused Premchand Persaud, aka ‘Sinbad’ were charged for the heinous crime.Dr Thakur, who has the power to summon witnesses, will investigate and present the findings with respect to the piracy attack. More so, he will be tasked to determine the identities of those killed, the motive for the attack, and possible prosecution of those culpable.While these persons were arrested, Harmon stated that the CoI will provide information to determine if responders fulfilled their responsibilities when the matter was reported. It can also determine how future matters of that nature are addressed.“A Commission of Inquiry will speak towards the responses of elements of the State to situations of this nature and what are the Standard Operating Procedures that are implied when a report is made and how do the agencies respond. It would also determine whether the responses have been adequate and will advise Government on the way which such matters should be dealt with in the future. If in fact there is a breakdown in the system, if there is something that should have been done that was not done, these are matters which the Commission of Inquiry will tell you”.One of the survivors, Dhramdeo Persaud, called “Achie Boy”, told Guyana Times one year after the incident that he still has nightmares. 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.Meanwhile, Persaud cannot work since the attack during which he was chopped several times. He has also not received any of the $100,000 which Government had promised to supervisors and relatives on the missing fishermen.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 Outal, also called “Gavin”, was found on the Number 63 Beach, Corentyne on May 10 and was positively identified by a tattoo on his chest.last_img read more