Families of piracy victims receive financial assistance

first_imgEmotions ran high when family members of five of the fishermen who were victims of the piracy attacks off the Surinamese coast back in April, were on Friday given promised financial assistance from Government.Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan on Friday handed over cheques of $100,000 to the families of Glenroy Jones, Sunil Ramotar, Vickey Persaud and Deonarine Goberdhan, who are all missing since the attacks two months ago, as well as to Sherwin Lovell, who survived the ordeal.During the brief handing over ceremony, the Minister explained that the money is a one-off sum, which Cabinet recently approved.“I know it is not much money but its going to help because some of the relativesThe families of the five victims who received financial assistance from Governmentwho came were asking for $80,000 to $90,000 and some were asking for more but we decided at an average and Cabinet members agreed for that sum,” Ramjattan stated.A total of 16 families are expected to benefit from this financial assistance, and according to the Public Security Minister, checks are being done to determine which family members of the other victims will receive the money, with preference given to the closest next of kin.“Quite frankly, what has happened is a lot of relatives have come forward all of a sudden and so we want to make it quite clear that the closest next of kin will get the money… so we are in the process of finalising that,” Ramjattan stated.In addition to financial assistance, the Minister noted that the Public Health and Social Protection Ministries are being engaged to provide counselling for the families of the victims.As the family members went up to collect the cheques, tears trickle down their faces.Speaking with reporters afterwards, the mother of Sunil Ramotar, Chandra Barron, expressed appreciation for the help, recalling how hard it has been since her 41-year-old son, a father of two, went missing.The woman broke down as she indicated that she will be using the money to travel to Suriname to see whatever information, if any, she could get about her son, who has been a fisherman since he was 17 years old.“Right now ah said because I miss meh son, it nah easy to go through this pain when you lose your child so big. The only I can hope is that you can hear their voice back, that’s the main thing, you know. Since this thing, I never hear back and I glad to find out what going on… So this money that I collect, I gone go check and see about my son,” the grieving woman related.Sometime between April 27 and 28, 2018, four boats were attacked by a group of men who brutalised the occupants then threw them overboard in Surinamese waters. A few days later, another boat was attacked, and the captain was killed. That crew is still missing.The victims from both attacks are said to be Guyanese fishermen who are living in the neighbouring country. So far, there are five survivors; three bodies recovered and over a dozen still missing from the first attack alone.Investigators believe that the attacks were acts of revenge following the execution of a Guyanese fisherman living in Suriname. The man’s brother has since been held and charged, along with another, for the murder of two of the dead fishermen.last_img read more