Feb 12, 2012 Letters
Fishermen and residents on the Corentyne Coast have been on the receiving end of the wrath of piracy, which seems to have become a new and aggressively developing trend of criminal attack on Guyanese. The fact is the invasion of pirates on our shores and rivers has been with us for some time. However, within recent years the upsurge in this type of criminal attack has become staggering. The start of 2012 has not given us any indication that the problem of piracy will be halted rather; it is a warning which we should all dread.
I recalled, during many of his speeches on the APNU’s campaign trail, Mr. David Granger, now Leader of the Opposition, dealing forcefully with the issue of piracy, in fact at one meeting he went on to outline the problem and possible solutions. Piracy, he informed residents gathered at one meeting, is a serious security problem which must be addressed and dealt with forcefully if we are to ensure that people are able to work and live with a sense of security in their own communities.
I am not sure how many of us were listening to Mr. Granger, or even recognize that the issue of piracy is indeed very grave. In fact we keep looking at issues through the lens of a political party. The debate on serious issues seem to judged based on which lens are you looking through rather than focusing on the issue. I believe that the PPP/C government either does not recognize piracy as a threat to the internal security and safety of our people and therefore does not warrant the state’s resources or attention, or that the government has no clue how to deal with the problem. How else can you explain the government’s apparent lack of passion, focus or interest to go after pirates who are continuing to create havoc on our waters, robbing and killing innocent citizens, leaving families of victims in a state of perpetual pain.
I believe that it is time the government musters all the help it can get to launch a highly tactical and aggressive campaign to arrest piracy on our shores. For too long we have allowed the pirates to feel that they are in control as those in authority sit back and behave as though it is not their responsibility to provide security to the people. We have watched good-spirited citizens rush out to sea to help those being attacked, only to learn of their tragic death on the stormy waters. The question is where were the troops who should have been leading this rescue operation? The answer is that they are not equipped with the requisite resources to go after pirates. I guess we will not hear the PPP/C government take some responsibility, but rather we are likely to hear how unprepared the men who attempted the rescue were. The fact is this government does not ever take responsibility for their failings.
Now that fishermen on the East Coast have protested, I wonder what will be the reaction by this government. Is the answer giving the fishermen shot guns to defend themselves or making the Guyana Defence Force Coast Guards and the relevant security agencies equipped to effectively confront these high sea criminals? Would we prefer to have the fishermen work at ease knowing that there are security forces patrolling the seas? It is hoped that the government adopts and supports that approach which has a more comprehensive, long term and broad based effort to curbing pirate attacks against innocent Guyanese.
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