Guyana asks Interpol to help with gold heist, Curacao not cooperating

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Guyana asks Interpol to help with gold heist, Curacao not cooperating

The Guyana Police Force (GPF) is continuing to seek help from Interpol to obtain evidence from those implicated in the stealing of US$11.5 million worth of gold bars from a Guyanese-registered cargo vessel that had docked at the Dutch Caribbean island.

Guyana is primarily interested in determining whether the gold was smuggled from here and who were the smugglers.

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A senior police officer confirmed to Demerara Waves Online News (www.demwaves.com) on Sunday that Interpol has already dispatched some material and requested some additional information from Guyanese police.

“We have gone through Interpol for the assistance there and they sent back something and we had to respond to them,” the official added.

The France-headquartered Interpol, among other functions, facilitates international police cooperation even where diplomatic relations do not exist between particular countries.

According to the senior cop, little progress has been made so far. “Nothing as yet but we are  trying our utmost. The people out there (Curacao) do not want to give out much information but we are trying to see how much we could get.”

The tight-lipped official noted that since the heist on November 30, Interpol’s assistance was sought. However, the Guyana Police Force has not asked for additional information since last Friday’s arrest of seven persons and the seizure of two gold bars suspected to have been part of the loot.

The captain and crew of the Summer Bliss are still in Curacao although none of them has been reported arrested by police there. The Guyanese police officer confirmed that statements obtained from those aboard would be of interest to local investigators.

Interpol wants to know, among other things, who are the Guyanese investigators assigned to the case so that they could be in direct contact with them.

Curacao police on Friday announced that seven persons- one from Bonaire, three are from Venezuela and the remainder from Curacao- were arrested in connection with the heist of 70 gold bars weighing 476 pounds.

DemWaves on Sunday was told by a senior official of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) that an official who travelled to Curacao as part of a probe has made little progress because investigators are treating the matter purely as a theft on the territory and have paid little attention to the origin of the gold and whether it was smuggled from Guyana.

“Those people are inveestigating the robbery aspect of it. They don’t care anything about anything else. They are not catering for us and they are not cooperative so there is nothing much we can do,” the GGMC official said.

The official emphasised that the Curacao police were bent on solving the robbery there. Asked whether the GGMC team had spoken with the captain and crew, the official said that was impossible because the GGMC officials “are not police and we can’t go about interrogating anybody.”

Natural Resources Minister, Robert Persaud has already gone on record as strongly suggesting that the gold was shipped from Suriname rather than Guyana.According to the GGMC official, Surinamese officials say their country has no problem exporting gold whether or not it was mined there.

Guyanese officials believe that some or all of the gold might have been smuggled to Suriname where the royalty and tax totals 1.5% compared to seven percent in Guyana.
Article Source: Demerarawaves


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