Saturday 22 February, 2020

FFOS: Three fishermen kidnapped, US$10,000 ransom demanded

File footage of local fishermen at sea.

File footage of local fishermen at sea.

Three more Icacos fishermen have reportedly been kidnapped after US$10,000 (TT$68,000) was demanded for their safe return.

That's according to environmental conservation group, Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS), in a statement issued on Tuesday.

The FFOS said the fishermen went to sea early on Tuesday morning. Their families were contacted and the ransom was demanded. Their boat was subsequently found without the engine. 

"Fisherman and captain Sneider, also known as “Carlo”, and two others are missing. Who will pay this ransom? Where were the Cedros based Coast Guard? Do we have any radars? Where are the 14 Coast Guard interceptors which Minister Young promised to be repaired since last November?" FFOS enquired. 

The environmental group reiterated the call for more security at sea citing this incident as well as the mass murder of seven fishermen in July. They further questioned the silence of Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and National Security Minister Stuart Young.

"FFOS and the families of “Seven of the best” murdered fishers (from the Orange Valley mass murder in July 2019) continue to appeal to our esteemed Prime Minister Rowley and Minister of National Security Young to appoint a multi stakeholder committee to examine “safety at sea” issues and to report back to Cabinet. To date, even after writing the Prime Minister and the Minister of National Security on numerous occasions, we have not had the courtesy even of an acknowledgement or of a reply. Why are they silent on our safety? Why are our citizens being locked out, abandoned and being put in grave danger?"

"We continue to appeal to Prime Minister Rowley and Minister Young of National Security to advise the Nation as to what steps are being taken to ensure safety at sea."

The FFOS said the Government owes a duty of care to ensure they are able to safeguard local fishermen and to respond in a timely manner to emergencies. It added that to date, there is no information on whether there are working radars and if T&T's borders are wide open to the free flow of every type of mafia, contraband and human cargo.

"Now that the 2019/2020 Budget promises are made, we appeal to Prime Minister Rowley to speak out on this matter of safety at sea because our men are being brutally taken and murdered. Until the Prime Minister acts, more vulnerable lives will be lost and their blood, regretfully, will be on his hands. FFOS stand ready to serve and appeal to our Government to break its silence and to ACT before any more lives are taken," the release ended. 

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