Amid the efforts employed by the Government of Guyana to release two fishing boats and 12 crew members last week by Venezuelan Lynges, there is a report that a third authority has been seized by neighboring authorities.
Since then, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hugh Todd, has made it clear that the Government is still trying to confirm the accuracy of this latest report.
“We were made to understand that a third ship had been captured, and I have yet to receive further details. When we get that, we’ll issue a statement, ”the Minister told reporters on Thursday on the sidelines of the National Assembly.
He said then INews Thursday night that he was awaiting information from the Guyana Embassy in Caracas, expected sometime today.
Another fishing vessel registered in Guyana, ‘Miss Annie’ – GR972360 – and her seven-member crew were detained by a Venezuelan army on Monday.
River patrols attached to the Venezuelan National Armed Guard (FANB) were reportedly seized by the ship and detained crew members, who were intercepted in Mariusa, Tucupita, Delta Amacuro, Venezuela.
This comes just days after two other Guyanese fishing vessels – Lady Nayera and the Mermaid – operating off the coast of Waini Point, within Guyana’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) – were intercepted on January 21 by Venezuelan Lynges, who captured the crew members and seized the ships.
Richard Ramnarine is the captain of ship Lady Nayera and includes crew members Ramlakan Kamal, Nick Raghubar, Javin Boston, Michael Domingo and Joel Joseph. Toney Garraway is the captain of the other ship, the Sea Wolf, and includes crew members Errol Gardener, Orland Roberts, Christopher Shaw, Shirvin Oneil and Randy Henry.
Venezuela claims the fishermen are, in both cases, in its waters. In fact, Venezuela’s Minister of Peoples’ Power for Foreign Relations, Jorge Arreaza, during a virtual meeting with Minister Todd on Monday, provided location coordinates to indicate that the vessels were engaged in illegal fishing in Venezuela’s jurisdictional waters.
Guyana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, however, argued on Thursday that this is not so. He explained that the location coordinates of the two fishing boats when they were detained in EEZ Guyana.
“What’s important is that the situation is well within our Exclusive Economic Zone, and that’s what matters. [It’s] not the exact site, but the general location is inside our EEZ, ”Todd told reporters.
Meanwhile, the 12 fishermen were detained last week after allegedly being caught with hammerhead sharks – a species protected by Venezuelan laws from being trapped. Minister Todd revealed that this had been pointed out to him by his Venezuelan counterpart during their virtual engagement earlier in the week.
“When I spoke to the Minister for Foreign Affairs [of Venezuela], he mentioned that; but we haven’t heard anything from the crew in that regard, ”Todd has noted.
According to the Minister, although the Guyanese authorities have been in daily contact with the detained fishermen, the fishermen have never been questioned on this issue. He pointed out that this is not their focus at present.
“We are dealing with the release of crew and ships; we are not dealing with custody … At the end of the day, the ships were trapped in our territory. That is a matter for us by law, not the Venezuelans. So, we don’t want to be distracted. Let’s stay focused. The ships and crews need to be released as soon as possible. Forget about custody for now, we can deal with that later, ”asked Minister Todd.
While the Venezuelan Minister for Foreign Affairs has ensured that crew members are treated with the utmost respect for their human rights, and despite his commitment to pursue early release, the fishermen have been brought to justice in Venezuelan since then, and according to further reports coming out of Caracas, the men could be detained for about 45 days more, pending investigations in the Spanish-speaking nation.
However, during Thursday’s National Assembly sitting, when the House updated the position, Minister Todd reiterated calls for Nicolas Maduro’s regime to release Guyanese fishermen and the vessels.
“Guyana has strongly condemned the illegal detention of its citizens and the illegal seizure of their fishing vessels by Venezuelan Lynges. As I speak, my Ministry continues to engage with the international community to resolve this issue in the most peaceful and diplomatic manner, ”he informed the House.
Furthermore, the Minister for Foreign Affairs said that Guyana is encouraged and encouraged by the support of the international community, which echoes calls for the release of Guyanese nationals and their fishing vessels, as well as for Venezuela to refrain from deeds ■ violate international law and threaten the region’s peace and stability.
In fact, among those who have come out in support of Guyana is the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) as a body as well as individual member states, which has denied the actions taken by Venezuela and called on that country to release a crew and Guyanese ships.
“The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) expresses serious concern at the escalating tensions between Guyana and Venezuela, caused by the interception and detention of two Guyanese fishing vessels in Guyana’s Unique Economic Zone on January 21, 2021… CARICOM urges the Government of the Bolivian Republic of Venezuela to respect Guyana’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and to refrain from acts of aggression that will seriously undermine peace and security not only Guyana and Venezuela, but the entire Caribbean region, ”the regional body said in missive Wednesday.
In response on Thursday, however, Venezuela has said that the CARICOM statement “not only contributes to an ominous climate of hostility, but also supports the interests of U.S. transactional corporations seeking to take control of unmarked territory based on undesirable conflicts in the region. . ”