Cedros residents admit: Drugs yes, but no human trade

Tuesday, September 27, 2016 - 04:45

Cedros residents say the southwestern peninsula may be a transit for drug trafficking but not a haven for human traffickers.

This as police spent two days searching parts of Cedros and Moruga in search of abducted hairdresser Ria Sookdeo. 

Even though it has been five days since her disappearance, Sookdeo’s family has not given up hope.

At Fullarton Junction yesterday, a handful of residents who were waiting at the bus stop said Cedros was not known for human trafficking. 

Bobby Seepersad said: “I don’t think that girl is here. They saying all kinds of things about Cedros which are not true. I living here all my life and never once have I heard of anybody involved in human trafficking.”

Saying there have been reports of missing fishermen detained by Venezuelan authorities for fishing outside of territorial waters, Seepersad said there have been no reports of people being trafficked through the porous coastlines of the southwestern peninsula.

A recent boat ride off the fishing villages of St Marie, Fullarton and Cedros showed areas along the coast which are heavily eroded and lined with shallow caves. The caves which are only accessible by boat, are sometimes used for smuggling illegal cargo. 

However, a law enforcement source said there had never been any sightings of people being smuggled from the coastline.

Fisherman Tangchoon Shearwood, who was lounging in a hammock at the seaside, said there was no human trafficking being conducted from Cedros or Icacos. 

“I living here for 59 years and here is very safe. Our fishing community has no crime but it is not safe once you leave land. We have too many bandits at sea,” Shearwood said.

He said his brother, Michael Shearwood, was killed at sea by robbers in 2006. 

“We know that some illegal activities may take place here and we want police patrols but we need more Coast Guard patrols too,” Shearwood said.

SOURCE: www.guardian.co.tt (Radhica Sookraj)

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