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Challenges of the Fishery
How many more must suffer or die?

How many more must suffer or die?

Date: March 20th, 2019

Dear Editor/Newsroom,

Please see attached voice recording of the statement.

Each time seafarers are kidnapped it begs the question, is our Government failing? Fishermen and Friends of the Sea, (FFOS) express our deepest concern for the family of missing captain Anthony George from Guayaguayare, who jumped overboard from a Venezuelan kidnapper’s vessel on Monday 18th March 2019, on the southern coast of Trinidad, and to date, has not been found. How could this still be happening?

Venezuelan pirates are a real threat that is not being addressed by our Prime Minister whose government recently announced a multi-milliondollar army base construction in Moruga, but can a Regiment base on land protect seafarers who are out at sea? Will this Regiment base have vessels patrolling our seas or is a Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard (TTCG) base also being built in this area? In the meantime, what security measures are being implemented while these facilities are yet to be constructed? FFOS continue to call on our Minister of National Security to account for the whereabouts of the TTCG. Minister Young made a promise of November 7th 2018, ‘to repair 14 Coast Guard interceptor vessels in the fastest possible time’, but to date, four months and tens of millions of TTCG wages later, he has not been held accountable as to whether these vessels are still dilapidated.

Government after Government have assured our people that radars are monitoring our marine boundaries yet every day, every imaginable contraband flows unencumbered through our borders. Coast Guard interceptors and radars were promised… but have any been delivered? Hi-tech drones were also promised but can they be effective in addressing this offshore threat? After all the talk and gallery, what exactly is being done? Where is our eloquent yet silent Dennis Moses, Minister of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs, who diligently attended the January 10th 2019 Nicolas Maduro Presidential inauguration?

Has he led any talks with the Maduro Regime or the Guardia Nacional to clamp down on their pirates who are openly attacking our citizens? Where is Minister Franklyn Khan who in 2018 emphasized his “cordial Relationship with the Government of Venezuela”? Why are they silent now? What is our Government doing to help find our kidnapped Captain Anthony George? While our debt ridden nation engages international lending institutions in loan after loan, investing in excessive, arguably unnecessary highway infrastructure “from nowhere to nowhere” our men are being brutalized, kidnapped and killed. Could some of the highway loans be used to repair or obtain a functional radar? This is 2019 and yet as a Nation we are still vulnerable, functioning like a “back-a-yard banana republic”. It is clear to every right thinking citizen that our sovereignty is being threatened, our maritime space is being invaded, and armed gangs are threatening all our marine users.

Year after year our Government pumps billions into our TTCG, and yet our seafarers continue to be brutalized! Up till now our borders remain wide open and there is an increase in piracy and kidnapping. How many more of our seafarers must suffer or die before our PM acts? While our leaders sleep, Rome burns and Venezuelan Pirates invade us.

FFOS warn All Seafarers to exercise extreme caution at sea.
Gary Aboud
Corporate Secretary

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