At around 6 am on Monday, fishermen who took to the sea for an early-morning catch reported being run down by pirates off the Cedros coast.
Councillor for the area Shankar Teelucksingh was called out to the shores of Cedros, where fishermen were docking their boat. They reported seeing what they said were Venezuelan pirates approaching them at sea.
“It is clear that pirates are in search of our fishermen and the TT Coast Guards are nowhere in sight,” he said. “The fishermen had to move their boats with speed when they realised pirates were approaching to rob them of their engines and nets.”
Teelucksingh has called an emergency meeting today at 9 am at his office in Cedros.
The fishermen are now at home, he said, with no way to make an honest living. Scores of people are employed in the fishing industry, Teelucksingh said and it was time for the government to take action to protect them from Venezuelan pirates.
Fishermen are made to suffer at the San Fernando wholesale market, he said, as they must pay illegal fees to sell their products or give up their fish to men who carry guns.
“Fishermen are now ready to give up their trade for the fear of losing their lives,” Teelucksingh said.
Pirates operating from Patos Island, a small, uninhabited Venezuelan island, were reportedly involved in kidnapping three Icacos fishermen last Tuesday.
Ramkissoon Harricharan, Carlo Sneider and Alvaro Espinoza were taken at gunpoint at 6 am off Galfa Point in Icacos. They were released after a US$30,000 ransom was reportedly paid.