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… charges and case against men discarded
President Irfaan Ali, on Wednesday, thanked the international community for adding their voices in a “very strong manner” against the detainment of the Guyanese fishermen and vessels which were released on Wednesday by Venezuela.
The 12 Guyanese fishermen, illegally detained by the Venezuelan Military for close to two weeks, were given water, food and fuel, and set free by the Venezuelan Government on Wednesday.
However, this was after international pressure from countries and groups such as Belize, Brazil, Canada, France, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, the OAS and CARICOM.
A press release from the Office of the President on Wednesday noted that the President worked to rally the international community against the unlawful detainment and is very grateful for the support.
President Ali was, at the time, responding to questions from the media at the sod-turning ceremony of the West Central Mall set to be constructed at Leonora.
According to the Head of State, he was informed that the fishermen should reach home by the end of the week.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank all our international partners, CARICOM Heads of Government, and all of our other international partners for adding their voices in a very strong manner on this very important issue,” he said.
“That CARICOM statement must have had an impact, so too for all the statements from our bilateral partners and our international partners.” He said that CARICOM was unanimous in its solidary for Guyana and its statement against the detainment was strong and direct.
President Ali also explained to the media that it was communicated by Venezuelan Foreign Minister, Jorge Arreaza to his Guyanese counterpart that the charges and case would be discontinued at the intervention of Venezuelan President, Nicholas Maduro.
He added that he is looking forward to Venezuela acting responsibly and hopes that they desist from interfering with fishermen or anyone conducting business within Guyana’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which will continue to facilitate economic activities.
The Head of State reiterated that once there is need to speak on any issue, excluding the border matter before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Guyana, as a good neighbour, is ready to communicate with Venezuela.
The fishermen and their vessels – the Lady Nayera and the Sea Wolf – were illegally detained on January 21 when they were unlawfully intercepted by the Venezuelan Naval Vessel Commandante Hugo Chavez GC 24 off the coast of Waini Point within Guyana’s EEZ.
The crews and the fishing vessels were escorted to Port Guiria in Venezuela, where they were held for close to two weeks. Village Voice News was also informed that there were two additional vessels and crews intercepted by the Venezuelan military, and were also allegedly released on Wednesday but the source from the Foreign Affairs Ministry was unable to confirm.
In a telephone interview with Village Voice News on Wednesday, owner of Lady Nayera, Kumar Lalbachan said he was overwhelmed with joy when he received a phone call from his captain, indicating that the Venezuelan Government had taken a decision to release the fishermen, including the captain.
He said based on information provided by the captain, there were two other vessels and crews that were detained by the Venezuelan authorities but they were released at the same time with the other fishermen.