By Kellon Rover
GEORGETOWN, Guyana, (DPI) – His Excellency, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali said Wednesday, that his government will not relent on its promise to address the fishing licences matter with the Surinamese authority.
Fisherfolk, plying their trade in Suriname’s waters, have been complaining about constant harassment since they are not licenced to fish in the country’s territory. Some fisherfolk said they were also renting licences that were issued to Surinamese at high costs, while a number of them were not granted licences.
President Ali said he had spoken to Suriname’s president, Chandrikapersad Santokhi and the country’s foreign affairs minister Albert Ramdin earlier Wednesday, and was promised “some statistics” to show the number of licences issued to Guyanese.
“Minister Ramdin claimed that a high percentage of licences issued by the Surinamese authority were issued to Guyanese, so I am waiting for that.”
Dr Ali stated that the Surinamese leader has also assured that the remaining issues will be resolved soon.
He said Guyana has had excellent collaboration with its Surinamese counterpart pertaining to fisherfolk and expects the bond to continue.
“We are not wavering on our position that we must have a resolution of this issue,” the president emphasised.
He said Guyana has always been welcoming to investors in all sectors, specifically from neighbouring Suriname, “and we have always supported them. And I expect that these investors too, the private sector from Suriname who has always expressed strong sentiments would also add their voice on this issue.”
Last week, vice president, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo engaged fisherfolk along the Corentyne Coast who have been longing to receive their official licences to work. He said the matter remains a priority of the administration. The government has committed to increasing pressure on the neighbouring country at the highest level.
The vice president’s dialogue with the stakeholders also saw contributions from minister within the office of the president with responsibility for finance, Dr Ashni Singh, M.P, minister of agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha, minister of education, Priya Manickchand, and minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation, Hugh Todd.