Government considering Anti-Terrorism Bill
- Rohee underscores the need for partnership in terrorism fight
Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee says that his government welcomes the partnership with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)/Terrorism Prevention Branch and the Organization of American States (OAS)/ Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE).
This partnership, according to the Minister, has been developed to build overall capacity of Guyana to fight terrorism in all its forms.
Minister Rohee was at the time delivering the feature address at the opening of a four-day Workshop on the Prevention and Fight Against Terrorism and its Financing at the Grand Coastal Hotel at Le Ressouvenir, East Coast Demerara.
According to the Minister, this was not the first time that the UNODC has mounted a mission in Guyana to address the issue. Two other visits were done in 2009 and 2010.
He noted that terrorism is a global problem that could affect the lives of all citizens of the world, since the economies of all countries could be negatively affected by acts of Terrorism, thus reducing the quality of the lives of citizens.
Rohee pointed to the events of September 11, 2001, when terrorists destroyed the twin towers of the World Trade Centre and attacked the Pentagon, as a defining moment in the history of the world.
The events, he said, has brought about a number of changes internationally. There is now the presence of robust security systems at airports, seaports and other critical infrastructure, has become more evident.
“Guyana has been directly affected by international Terrorism before September 11, 2001. We can recall the Cubana Disaster in 1976 when Guyanese nationals who were on their way to study in Cuba were killed while traveling in a Cubana airline. This is an example of innocent citizens being caught in the web of Terrorism,” the Home Affairs Minister pointed out.
Guyana, he added, has long recognized that there must be regional, hemispheric and International cooperation to fight acts of terrorism and the Financing of Terrorism.
“With that focus in mind we have signed on to at least 12 of the 16 Anti Terrorism Instruments that have been agreed to by the United Nations. Additionally, we are party to Anti Terrorism Instruments that have been sponsored by the Organization of American States,” Rohee declared.
He said that Guyana’s plans to address Terrorism in Guyana is based on three main platforms - Legislative Intervention, capacity building of the Law Enforcement and Regulatory Institutions and allocation of Capital Resources to Law Enforcement and other Agencies.
“As part of this country’s Legislative Agenda to fight Terrorism, we have taken the following steps: one, in 2002 the (Criminal Law) offences Act chapter 8:01 was amended by Act No.7 of 2002 to Criminalize Terrorist Acts; two, the Anti Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Act No.13 of 2009 was approved by our Parliament.
It is aimed at addressing issues of Money Laundering including the Financing of Terrorism.”
However, the Minister noted that Guyana has not completed its Legislative process, in that the government is considering proposals that would eventually lead to the submission of an Anti-Terrorism Bill in Parliament.
And in recognition of the reality that there must be in place adequately trained officials to prevent, investigate and prosecute persons who may want to engage in Terrorism, the Minister said that Guyana has been making efforts to ensure that adequate training is made available to the Staff of the relevant Agencies.
The present workshop, he said, represents one of the activities aimed at strengthening Guyana’s capacity to fight Terrorism.
“The Government of Guyana, over the years, has within its limited resource base, been directing significant sums of money to acquire the requisite equipment to support the respective Law Enforcement Agencies to enable them to carry out their Terrorism Prevention and detection activities. We will continue to inject the requisite funds to those Agencies. Guyana as part of the World Community will continue to work with our Partners to fight the scourge of Terrorism,” Rohee said.
He added, “Our work will be made easier if all countries cooperate to combat the threat of terrorism. The eagerness that has been demonstrated by the UNODC Terrorism Prevention Branch to mount this Workshop is commendable and signals the intention of the United Nations to play a leading role in the fight against Terrorism.”
The Minister urged the participants of the workshop to use this unique opportunity that has been provided to assist them in having a better understanding of the issues surrounding Terrorism.