May 31 2018
The Corentyne boat owner who was remanded over two robberies on the sea in 2015 and 2016, was yesterday charged with the murder of a fisherman in the horrific April 27, 2018 piracy attack off of Suriname.
Nakool Manohar, also known as “Fyah”, 39, of Lot 1, Number 43 Village, Corentyne, appeared before Magistrate Rabindranauth Singh at the Springlands court who read a charge that between April 26 and May 3, he murdered Tilaknauth Mohabir, also known as “Kai” or “Kaiman”, who was on fishing vessel “Romina SK 747” in the Corentyne waters.
Manohar, who arrived at court without any handcuffs or shackles, was not required to plead to the charge.
Initially, the charge included the names of Mohabir and Mahesh Sarjoo. However, after Magistrate Singh stated that it should be two counts of murder instead of one count, with the names of both fishermen, Sarjoo’s name was then omitted from the original charge, and it will be filed seperately on the next court date.
Magistrate Singh then remanded Manohar on the murder charge and he will return to court on June 13.
Meanwhile, the court heard that the files for the charges in relation to the two robberies committed on the sea in 2015 and 2016, are not yet completed. Manohar was further remanded for those charges as well.
Manohar is the first person to be formally charged in either Guyana or Suriname over the piracy attack that left around 12 Guyanese missing. The charge comes after the bodies of Mohabir and Sarjoo were positively identified by relatives.
After the attack, three decomposed bodies were discovered in Surinamese waters during various searches. The authorities had ordered that DNA testing be done to properly identify the bodies. However, relatives told Stabroek News that after they complained that the results of the DNA tests were taking too long to return, the authorities facilitated an identification at the mortuary in Paramaribo, Suriname where the bodies are presently stored.
Two of Mohabir’s brothers identified his body from a tattoo of his birth date on his hand and by the clothes in which his body was clad.
The relatives told this newspaper that Mohabir’s body was badly decomposed, with the tattoo on one of the few parts of his body still with skin.
The identification of Sarjoo, a Surinamese, was made by his sister after she was contacted by the authorities. The fisherman’s relative said that his body bore a tattoo of a heart and that was how she was able to make the identification.
According to Sarjoo’s cousin, the man’s father had passed away three weeks before the piracy attack.
Both Mohabir, a Guyanese who had moved to Suriname as a young child, and Sarjoo, whose parents are Guyanese, were unmarried and had no children.
Meanwhile, the relatives also relayed that the authorities have not released the bodies as yet. Stabroek News was told yesterday that the Surinamese authorities are claiming that they have some paperwork to complete before they can officially release the bodies to the relatives.
However, while those relatives are anxiously waiting to collect the bodies to perform the last rites, the third body is still to be identified. According to information gathered, relatives of the missing men were unable to identify the third body due to its advanced state of decomposition.
Yesterday at the Springlands Magistrate’s Court the relatives of the accused and the relatives of the dead and missing fishermen, who were present at the court, clashed in an argument.
According to an eyewitness, Manohar’s relatives and relatives of the deceased and missing fishers had a heated exchange of words. A report was subsequently filed at the Springlands Police Station and statements were taken from both sides.
Meanwhile, the missing fishermen’s relatives voiced their annoyance that the accused was being treated as a “free man” yesterday since he arrived at the court without any handcuffs. A male relative of one of the missing fisherman said, “Them get he walking without any bangle and them get he like one free man, and awe family dead and them get he good treatment like he na do nothing”.
Tarmattie Abrahim, also known as “Kavita”, wife of missing fisherman Ganesh Persaud, was also present at court and stressed that she is dissatisfied with the police who she believes are giving the accused “a good treatment.”
“Get he without handcuff, get he like one lil sweet boy, he ah eat fried rice in A/C”, said Abrahim, who arrived hours before the case was called. She explained that her husband had been the sole breadwinner for the family, and that she is surviving with the support from her relatives and neighbours.
An emotional Abrahim relayed that her two children, two and five years old, are repeatedly asking for their father.
“The big one go school yesterday (Tuesday), and them children tell he how he father dead, only lef for me son cry yesterday”, she said.