Local drug agents get DEA training, equipment boost
As Guyana’s fight against the trafficking of illicit drugs intensifies, the United States of America is once again showing its commitment to assist the small countries to battle the transnational scourge that is threatening to destabilize the region.
This commitment was manifested in the collaboration between the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Guyana Police Force to hold a drug investigators’ course for local anti-narcotics agents.
The course is being held at the Police Officers’ Mess and will benefit drug agents from the Guyana Police Force and the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU). It is intended to enhance their knowledge and techniques of drug enforcement and to make them aware of the current trends in drug trafficking.
US Ambassador Brendt Hardt, in his remarks at the opening ceremony yesterday, expressed the hope that the course will lead to further training in other counter-narcotics specialties such as digital forensics, case development, and court and legal skills.
The programme is a component of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) which was established in 2010 with the joint pledge to create a strong partnership among the United States and the Caribbean Community.
“We’re bound together in this effort by our common geography, our close economic links, and the close ties and travel among our citizens. That is why we need to work together to achieve greater stability, security, and social justice for all of our citizens,” Ambassador Hardt said.
He noted that the CBSI is built on three core objectives: to reduce illicit trafficking of counter-narcotics and illegal weapons, to advance public security and safety, and to promote social justice.
These objectives, he explained, were developed and agreed on jointly by the United States and CARICOM members as the key threats that are facing the Caribbean region.
“We recognised that the drug trade destabilises economic progress, threatens public safety, and makes it more likely that vulnerable populations may be lured into recruitment by criminal organizations.”
But the US Ambassador made it clear that the CBSI is not just about drug interdictions. It is a regional initiative working to forge a range of long-term partnerships to achieve shared security and social objectives in the region. According to Mr. Hardt, the initiative is to have the citizens of Guyana see the benefits of improved security and social justice in a personal way.
He said that transnational trafficking, including drug trafficking, is a major threat to governance and security throughout the Caribbean.
The trafficking of drugs, arms, people and counterfeit medicine provides large profits to criminal networks and these profits distort economies and undermine the rule of law, making it harder for countries to reach their broader social and economic goals.
Ambassador Hardt said that to prevent these distortions, the United States is committing funding through the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative and the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement to deepen its partnership with the Government of Guyana, by providing training, equipment, and other resources to help combat these key threats.
“This week’s training programme marks the beginning of a new U.S. fiscal year during which we will be working hand-in-hand with Guyana’s security forces, judicial system, corrections institutions, and banking industry through an array of CBSI initiatives.
This programme, conducted by our dedicated colleagues from the Drug Enforcement Administration, will continue DEA’s ongoing joint efforts to combat the illegal drug trade by working with the men and women of the Guyana Police Force and Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit to enhance investigation and ensure successful prosecutions,” he stated.
The current training is designed to complement and support the August 20 launch of the U.S-funded Container Control Programme being implemented by United Nations Office of Drug and Crime.
Guyana is one of the first countries in the Caribbean to participate in this Container Control Programme, which will enhance the ability of Guyana’s law enforcement authorities to intercept potential terrorist activities, combat the smuggling of narcotics and weapons, prevent the evasion of taxes, and address the smuggling of chemical precursors for narcotic production and illicit drugs.
In addition to the launching of the training programme, the United States Embassy also donated a set of equipment that will further enhance the drug fighting capabilities of the local drug agencies.
“The United States Embassy and the Drug Enforcement Administration are determined to ensure that our Guyanese partners have the necessary tools to do their jobs effectively. The handover of equipment we are providing today brings the total value of equipment offered this fiscal year to US$44,560 or $9M, equipment that Guyanese and American law enforcement authorities have identified as critical to their ability to conduct counter-narcotics investigations,” the Ambassador said.
“We recognize that the training being launched today and the equipment provided is only part of a broader and more comprehensive partnership, and we remain committed to working with you to deepen and expand this partnership to the benefit of all of our citizens. To ensure a safer and more prosperous environment for our citizens, we need to continue to work with all stakeholders to build your capacity to meet this challenge,” Ambassador Hardt told the gathering, which included Police Commissioner Leroy Brumell, Crime Chief Seelall Persaud, CANU Head James Singh, and Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee.