Sep 21, 2010 News Comments Off on CANU destroys seized cocaine, marijuana
Approximately US $600,000 worth of cocaine and US $150,000 (street value) of cannabis sativa (marijuana) intercepted over a two-year period, were destroyed by ranks of the Customs Anti-Narcotic Unit (CANU) at the location where the Ministry of Housing once stood at Homestretch Avenue.
Minister of Home Affairs, Clement Rohee, who witnessed the activity, said that it was part of an ongoing exercise by CANU to destroy illicit drugs that were seized under various circumstances and for which some cases have been dismissed while others have played out in court, resulting in persons serving sentences in prison.
The Minister said that CANU has been trying its utmost notwithstanding the constraints, to fulfill its mandate.
The agency has established its presence at the major ports of entry in Guyana, the most recent being Lethem and efforts are being made to extend such services to Moleson Creek, Berbice.
“All the laws are in place to address seizures and to place persons before the court and we are consistently following the National Drug Strategy Master Plan in which CANU is also involved,” Minister Rohee said.
In 2007, a Task Force on Narcotics and Illicit Weapons was established to facilitate the implementation of the Plan.
This initiative is arranged under four broad areas, control and reduction of supply, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation, and institutional and managerial framework.
The Plan consists of 34 programmes, 17 of which have already been implemented and the others are either being implemented or considered since they depend heavily on external funding.
Minister Rohee refuted criticisms that the Master Plan is a failure and said that “the fact that 17 of those programmes have already been executed is a good example to show our efforts in implementing this strategy.”
He added that the Government is committed to eradicating narcotics in Guyana.
Additionally, as part of the effort to fast-track the implementation of the National Drug Strategy Master Plan, a steering committee of the National Anti-Narcotics Commission (NANCOM) was established.
The Committee is chaired by President Bharrat Jagdeo and comprises critical stakeholders. This is the focal point in the counter-narcotics strategy which will lead to the overall improvement in the co-ordination by various agencies.
Minister Rohee also dismissed criticisms made by the US State Department Report that there is not enough collaboration between law enforcement agencies in the fight against illicit drugs.
One of the biggest challenges that is being faced by CANU is that of its human resources capacity. It is one of the agencies that is subjected to polygraphing and those who are found unsuitable are dismissed from the organisation.
CANU is seen as a potential National Drug Enforcement Agency, commanding the respect of other Law Enforcement Agencies in Guyana, CARICOM, the hemisphere and the international community. (GINA)
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