Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan made the disclosure as he spoke with executives of the Upper Corentyne Chamber of Commerce and members of the Upper Corentyne Fisherman’s Coop Society Limited yesterday. He said it was one of the proposals being considered to address piracy on the Corentyne River.
“I am keen on something like that because when you are out on the ocean there, it’s like the olden times in America, like you [are] out on the west and you have only a six shooter revolver to defend yourself,” he said.
Ramjattan said if the proposal is implemented, fishermen would only have the guns while out at sea to defend themselves against pirates. On their return, the firearms and ammunition would be turned over to police.
He said his ministry had to find practical solutions to the piracy problem because it was too costly to have Coast Guard vessels guarding fishermen.
“So too is having helicopters in various parts of Berbice to respond to call from fishing boats . . . Just the elementary helicopter costs millions, much less the sophisticated type,” the minister pointed out.
“What we would need are some practical solutions,” he added, identifying measures such as ensuring better response time by the police and Coast Guard units. He said the latter’s metal shark boats would be put to use.
Efforts will also be made to ensure that boats are equipped with radio systems so that their positions can be tracked, Ramjattan said.