The management of St. Lucia News Online sincerely apologises to its readers and advertisers for the reduction in news updates over the past weeks due to issues beyond our control that we can not legally/personally disclose at this time. Thankfully, there was no downtime but we regret the lack of updates due, to as mentioned, issues beyond our control. We thank you for your patience as normalcy is being restored to our daily coverage.

Kidnapped Trinidad fishermen freed after US$90,000 ransom paid

By Radhica De Silva

 Share This On:

One of the fishermen who were released by the Venezuelan pirates at the Siparia Health Facility yesterday. Photo: Kristian De Silva

(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) — Af­ter pay­ing a US$90,000 ran­som, which in­clud­ed 10 cell­phones, gold jew­ellery and sev­er­al boat en­gines, five fish­er­men from Morne Di­a­blo, Pe­nal, fi­nal­ly re­turned to their fam­i­lies yes­ter­day.

Lyn­ton Manohar, 35, Ja­son O’Bri­an, 38, Jagdesh Jude Jaikaran, 16, Bran­don Ar­joon, 28 and Ricky Ramb­harose, 35 ar­rived in a pirogue at Morne Di­a­blo around 7 am. Their fam­i­lies were nat­u­ral­ly over­joyed at their safe re­turn.

A source who re­quest­ed anonymi­ty said the ran­som was paid in two parts and the ab­duc­tion of the group was or­ches­trat­ed by a man with Trinida­di­an links.

“It was or­gan­ised by a South Trinida­di­an man with un­der­world links who al­leged­ly brings in guns, drugs, hon­ey and oth­er il­le­gal car­go from the Venezue­lan main­land,” the source said.

The first ran­som of US$30,000 was paid in ex­change for the life of Jer­ry O’Bri­an. He was the first to be re­leased and re­turned home last Wednes­day. O’Bri­an nev­er gave the me­dia an in­ter­view about his or­deal but a source said he was sent to or­gan­ise the rest of the ran­som. His fam­i­ly was un­will­ing to speak to the me­dia on his re­turn home say­ing they could not re­lease in­for­ma­tion be­cause the fish­er­men would be tor­tured based on sto­ries car­ried in the press.

The day af­ter the fish­er­men were kid­napped, Manohar’s fam­i­ly sold their boat en­gines and a van to raise the US$30,000. That was paid to the Venezue­lans via an in­ter­me­di­ary. Last week a US$60,000 ran­som was arranged and this was sent to Venezuela last Sat­ur­day. The men were sup­posed to have come home then but the kid­nap­pers said they need­ed to make sure that the mon­ey was not coun­ter­feit.

When the T&T Guardian vis­it­ed the fish­er­men yes­ter­day they were still in po­lice cus­tody at the Siparia Health Fa­cil­i­ty. They were un­will­ing to speak and hid from the me­dia. Jagdesh looked de­pressed but the oth­er fish­er­men ap­peared to be well fed and un­harmed. They spent sev­er­al hours at the health fa­cil­i­ty where po­lice of­fi­cers used pri­vate cars to keep them away from the glare of the me­dia.

A source who re­quest­ed anonymi­ty said the six fish­er­men were fish­ing and shrimp­ing when they were ac­cost­ed by six boat­loads of Venezue­lans car­ry­ing AK47 and AR15 guns.

The Venezue­lans were part of a pi­rate gang which fre­quents the Man­amo Riv­er in Venezuela. The leader has scores of young hun­gry Venezue­lans un­der his charge who earn their liveli­hoods by charg­ing a tax to any­one who en­ters their riv­er space.

In­ter­pol has re­ceived in­for­ma­tion about the gang, which has been work­ing with Venezuela’s Guardia Na­cional.

Of­fi­cers of the An­ti-Kid­nap­ping Squad have tak­en de­tailed state­ments from the fish­er­men and are work­ing with the Venezue­lan au­thor­i­ties.

Over the past year, sev­er­al fish­er­men from Ce­dros, Ica­cos, Moru­ga and Pe­nal have been kid­napped and ran­soms paid.

On Jan­u­ary 12, Ken­rick Mor­gan, 17 and his cousin Kendell Singh, 24, were kid­napped while fish­ing in the sea off Gran Chemin, Moru­ga. The kid­nap­pers de­mand­ed a ran­som of US$40,000 which was lat­er changed to US$20,000 and five iPhones. Sources say they were al­so re­leased.

(0)(1)
This article was posted in its entirety as received by stlucianewsonline.com. This media house does not correct any spelling or grammatical error within press releases and commentaries. The views expressed therein are not necessarily those of stlucianewsonline.com, its sponsors or advertisers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.