Little security checks worry residents
A recent incident of a stolen car from Brazil has glaringly exposed the shortcomings at the border check point at the Takutu Bridge.
The bridge linking Guyana and Brazil, which was commissioned last year, had been tagged as a major catalyst to improve trade between the two countries but following observations of the operations of the Guyana side checkpoint, it was clear that regulations are not being adhered to.
Based on the joint agreement between Brazil and Guyana, there was a relaxation on the stringent checks of vehicles or persons crossing. Vehicles are allowed to enter that border town to conduct shopping and other business and leave at the end of the day.
The problem from the Guyana end was that at times vehicles were seen crossing into this country without even a record of the vehicle being made.
Kaieteur News’s reporter, Brian Sam, was at the border ckeck point in Lethem recently, following comments, and although there were a number of cars crossing, no one came out of the complex to conduct even a cursory check.
It was only after the reporter was seen with his camera that officials came out.
Recently, the need for checks was highlighted after a murder/robbery was committed in Brazil and driver and stolen car came to Guyana.
Kaieteur News has been told that it was only after Brazilian authorities came here and informed their counterparts that checks were made for the vehicle.
The problem was that the vehicle’s entry was not recorded at the Guyana checkpoint. Brazilian authorities, on the other hand, were sure that it had left their territory and entered Guyana.
The car was found in some bushes several miles from Lethem.
Before the bridge was commissioned, vehicles crossing on the pontoon were recorded and ticked off once they returned at the end of the day.
According to some observers, failure to check vehicles could have all sorts of implications, especially with the possible entry of illegal drugs, guns and criminals.
To compound matters, at 19:00hrs every evening, the Lethem complex which houses Immigration, Customs, Police and health inspectors, closes operations. However, while the bridge is closed to vehicular after this, pedestrians are still being allowed to cross the bridge.
Kaieteur News recently spoke with authorities at the Guyana crossing who admitted that there has been a relaxation on the checks.
However the senior official there promised that the matter would be looked into with improvement likely.