Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 4th 2015 Contents A17
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hands as they
are asked who
want to go
home at the
rushed at the
chance to be
GEORGETOWN---A judge in Guyana
has temporarily blocked the South
American country from accessing a
US$32 million loan from the Inter-
American Development Bank because
there is no Parliament. Chief Justice Ian
Chang on Thursday scheduled a hearing
next week on the case. The money is
slated for a range of projects including
reforming the police department and
Guyana's main opposition coalition
had sought to ban the administration of
President Donald Ramotar from
spending money not approved by
Ramotar suspended the opposition-
controlled National Assembly last year
to avert a no-confidence vote. The
European Union withheld US$37 million
in aid earlier this year because of a lack
Elections are scheduled for May 11.
Judge bars gov't from using US$32m loan
BENJINA---Hundreds of fishermen yes-
terday raced to be rescued from the isolated
Indonesian island where an Associated
Press investigation found that many were
enslaved to catch seafood that could end
up in the United States and elsewhere.
Indonesian officials probing labour abuses
told the migrant workers they were allowing
them to leave for another island by boat
out of concern for their safety. More than
300 fishermen emerged from nearby
trawlers, villages and even the jungle to
make the trip.
Win Win Ko, 42, left impoverished Myan-
mar four years ago on the promise of getting
a good job in neighbouring Thailand, but
like many others stranded in the island vil-
lage of Benjina, he was instead duped into
getting on a fishing boat that took him
thousands of miles from home with no
return. He said his four teeth were kicked
out by a Thai boat captain's military boots
because he was not moving fish fast enough
from the deck to the hold below.
The current and former slaves began get-
ting news about the rescue as a downpour
started, and some ran through the rain.
They sprinted back to their boats, jumping
over the rails and throwing themselves
through windows. They stuffed their meager
belongings into plastic bags and rushed back
to the dock, not wanting to be left behind.
A small boat went from trawler to trawler
picking up men who wanted to go and was
soon loaded down with about 30 men.
The Indonesian delegation began inter-
viewing men on boats and assessing the
situation on the island this week. They have
heard of the same abuses fishermen told
the AP in a story published last week, which
documented a company graveyard in Benjina
and eight fishermen locked in a company
The fishermen described being beaten,
kicked and whipped with stingray tails and
given Taser-like electric shocks. Some said
they fell ill and were not given medicine;
others said they had been promised jobs in
Thailand but were instead issued fake sea-
farer documents and taken to Indonesia,
where they were made to work 20- to 22-
hour days with no time off for little or zero
pay. Their catch is then shipped back to
Thailand, where it enters global markets,
the AP story documented.
Initially, Indonesian officials told about
20 men from Myanmar, also known as
Burma, that they could be moved from Ben-
jina to neighbouring Tual island for their
safety following interviews with officials
yesterday. However, as news spread that
some were getting to leave the island, dozens
of others started filing in from all over and
sitting on the floor. An official was later
asked if those hiding in the forest could
come as well.
The delegation said security in Benjina
is limited, with only two Indonesian navy
officials stationed there. The men crowded
onto seven trawlers and will be moved to
Tual over 24 hours. They are to stay at a
Fisheries Ministry compound until their
identities can be verified.
Kusuma said the next step is to coordinate
with immigration and their countries of
The International Organisation for Migra-
tion said last week there could be as many
as 4,000 foreign men, many trafficked or
enslaved, who are stranded on islands sur-
rounding Benjina following a fishing mora-
torium called by the Indonesian Fisheries
Ministry to crack down on poaching.
Indonesia has some of the world's richest
fishing grounds, and the government esti-
mates billions of dollars in seafood are stolen
from its waters by foreign crews every year.
Many of those leaving Benjina yesterday
were Burmese, but about 50 refused to go,
saying they had not received their salaries
and did not want to leave without money.
Another 50 from Cambodia came forward
in a group ready to leave. (AP)
Fishermen duped by fake job offers rescued
CHARLOTTE---A man reported missing at sea
two months ago was rescued on the overturned
hull of his sailboat off the North Carolina coast
and said he rationed his water and energy and
prayed for help throughout the ordeal.
The crew of a German-flagged container ship
found 37-year-old Louis Jordan on his single-mast-
ed, 35-foot (10-metre) boat on Thursday afternoon.
Neither he nor the Coast Guard said exactly
when during the journey the vessel capsized or
how long he might have clung to it. He had a shoul-
der injury and was dehydrated but arrived at a hos-
pital in good condition and refused treatment,
family members and authorities said.
Jordan said he initially did not believe the con-
tainer ship was real when he saw it. He said the
ship's crew did not see him until he began waving
his arms. Jordan had been living on his 1950s-era
boat at a marina in South Carolina until January,
when he told his family he was going into open
water to sail and do some fishing, said his mother,
Norma Davis. He set out January 23, Coast Guard
officials said, and hadn't been heard from since.
The details of Jordan's whereabouts over the 66
days he was missing and how he might have sur-
vived were still unclear, said Coast Guard Chief
Petty Officer Ryan Doss.
Jordan told WAVY that he was travelling north
when his boat hit bad weather. He said he saw a
wave crash into his window, and the boat eventually
filled with water. He said at one point he was flying
through the air and he thinks he broke his shoulder.
He said he rationed his water to about a pint a day,
but "for such a long a time I was so thirsty."
The Coast Guard in Miami was notified by his
father, Frank Jordan, on January 29 that he hadn't
seen or heard from his son in a week, Coast Guard
spokeswoman Marilyn Fajardo said. (AP)
Man missing at
sea for 66 days
lived on raw fish
PANAJI---Indian police yesterday investigated a
federal government minister's complaint that a
niche boutique in the southwestern resort of Goa
had a closed-circuit TV looking into a changing
room where she was trying out clothes.
Police officer Nilesh Rane said Human Resources
Development Minister Smriti Irani was in the store
when one of her assistants informed her about the
camera, which the officer said was aimed through
the changing room's ventilator.
The store is in the beach village of Candolim,
popular with international tourists.
The camera was found to be recording customers
inside the room, a police officer said on condition
of anonymity as he was not authorised to talk to
Boutique in hot water
for spying on minister
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