Shrimp farmers met in Guayaquil, to publicly express that the shrimp sector is in crisis due to organized crime. Photo: Twitter
Shrimp sector demands government help to stop organized crime
Wednesday, January 29, 2020, 10:50 (GMT + 9)
The country's first non-oil export product, generator of employment and foreign currencies for Ecuador, is undergoing an internal crisis due to organized crime. The provinces of Guayas and El Oro are the ones that recorded the highest number of criminal incidents last year.
The insecurity for the shrimp sector had a cost of around USD 60 million last year, including losses due to assaults and robbery of shrimp, feed, supplies, equipment, boats and their engines. There is also the high level of investment in private security contracting that includes the purchase of surveillance systems and infrared technology, which at the moment are insufficient.
What is most worrysome is the lack of response from the Ministries of Defense and Interior to provide comprehensive security to the sector, attacking the origin of the problem: the disarticulation of organized gangs and breaking the buying and selling circle of the stolen sthrimp.
Shrimp representatives from El Oro, Manabí, Esmeraldas, Santa Elena and Guayas met in Guayaquil to publicly denounce that the situation is unsustainable, given the lack of patrols in geo-referenced land and sea areas considered dangerous. To this is added the lack of patrols at strategic points, insufficient operational and intelligence personnel; absence of effective communication equipment and lack of logistic resources to address emergencies.
“We are sending a request to the President of the Republic, Lenin Moreno, to order the strengthening of the security policy in maritime, river and land areas in Ecuador. Financial, technological and personal resources are lacking to guarantee the security of our sector. We record theft of boats and raids on farms on a daily basis, so we request that urgent corrections be taken to deal with organized crime efficiently,” said José Antonio Camposano, executive president of the National Chamber of Aquaculture (CNA).
"We are being victims of extortion to recover stolen engines, there are many criminal gangs that are operating in the province and we are afraid to report for fear of reprisals" said Telmo Romero, of the Association of Producers of Shrimp Aprocam.
Miguel Uscocovich, president of the Shrimp Association of the cantons of Sucre, Tosagua, Chone and San Vicente in the province of Manabí, claimed that the insecurity that the sector is experiencing is unsustainable. “ We need the Government to care for us urgently.”
Another requirement of the sector is that it be included in the Comprehensive Control Panel (WCC) of the Police, which currently typifies the crime against economic units, to take away an indicator that contemplates the theft of engines, boats, shrimp and disarticulation of organized bands that affect the shrimp production environment.
“Despite the insistence, for two years, the sector's approach has not been addressed, so that its own criminal indicator is included in the Comprehensive Scorecard (WCC), which will allow the National Police to efficiently carry out the analysis of crime, mobilize resources and apply specific actions aimed at reducing crime rates that hit and keep the sector in crisis,” said Mónica de Román, President of the Maritime Safety Commission of the Chamber of Shrimp Producers from El Oro.
Furthermore, they request the elimination of the 300% Special Consumption Tax (ICE) for the purchase of firearms and ammunition, in addition to eliminating the procedures that currently hinder the carrying of weapons to shrimp traders.
They also suggest that Navy personnel - geographers and computer technicians- are not subject to transfers for passes contemplated within their military career, since there are gaps that prevent the maintenance of operational plans that need to be evaluated at medium and long term. long term.
Shrimp producers demand urgent security assistance for their activity, which generates more than 261 000 direct and indirect jobs in the country and represents more than 3% of the Gross Domestic Product, being a fundamental pillar for the national economy, which today he is at serious risk because of the rising crime wave he attacks on a daily basis.