Sep 15, 2011 Letters
I decided to read the US Embassy cable dated December 20, 2005. The US Ambassador, Ronald Bullen, himself wrote the cable. The cable said there was a meeting on December 16, 2005 with the US Ambassador, Roger Luncheon and two other US Embassy officials. The meeting was to discuss Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) plans in Guyana.
The cable claims that Luncheon provided his opinion on how to fight the drug trade in Guyana. Luncheon reportedly said that everyone knows who is trafficking drugs and laundering money. If everyone knows, why weren’t these criminals ever arrested by the PPP government?
The cable claims that Luncheon said Guyana lacks the ability to obtain quality information to complete successful prosecutions.
I have heard some nonsense and some stupidity in my lifetime but this statement has to take the cake. If everyone knows who is trafficking drugs and laundering money, why is it so difficult to get the information to prosecute?
If Guyana lacks the ability to get that information, why has it never allowed a drug trafficking force with a history of incredible success, sophisticated equipment and stellar expertise, such as the DEA, into Guyana to get that final quality information to achieve prosecutions?
But it doesn’t end there. It gets better by getting worse. The US said it could provide legal assistance and obtain US indictments where there is evidence that the drugs were destined to the US. Luncheon was reportedly unconvinced with the benefits of legal assistance. The US has already nabbed some of our major cocaine traffickers.
Each of them pleaded guilty by confessing to trafficking drugs and laundering money. Those convictions have proven the benefits of legal assistance. Yet the PPP government seemingly remains unconvinced about legal assistance. The cable says that Luncheon said he would prefer to tighten banking regulations to tackle and expose money laundering than prosecute drug traffickers.
Luncheon’s alleged position was that instilling the fear of losing business was better than actually arresting and jailing drug kingpins.
The reasoning was that fear of losing business would force money launderers out of the banking system into other channels where they are more likely to be detected.
Now, that is utter nonsense. Everyone knows that once drug money is out of the banking system, it becomes impossible to detect in Guyana.
The banking sector is a way better system to monitor drug proceeds, because the money is at a fixed place that already has tracking systems. The PPP for all its talk never seriously reformed the banking sector to deal with money laundering.
What Luncheon allegedly proposed about forcing drug money into the open economy would have led to even greater undetected money laundering in Guyana. It would have also pushed drug cartels to laundering in the open economy. It would have led to drug cartels investing more of their money in the open economy, which would have given them even more power over the country and made them harder to eradicate.
Luncheon’s alleged proposal was not only inept, but dangerous, as it would have ensnared Guyana even more deeply into the tentacles of drug cartels, who would have moved their money out of the banks into the open economy owning airstrips, buying ranches, operating construction companies, stores, etc.
In fact, when one considers that the returns on savings at the local banks are minuscule and barely beat inflation, investment of drug money in the open economy would have made drug cartels more profits, provided bigger returns on investments, and in doing so, developed the drug cartels at a significantly faster rate than if their money stayed in the banks.
Bigger and faster growing
drug cartels mean greater destruction of the entire country, more compromising of government officials, and more weaponry to terrorise those who oppose them.
The cable claims that Luncheon believed that public shaming is more preferred to fighting drug trafficking than prosecution. I have never heard a more shameless piece of absolute hogwash.
Yes, a shame-based strategy of fighting shameless drug cartels. No locking up, jailing, arresting, prosecuting and asset stripping of drug cartels and their bosses. But shame-based strategies and strategies other than prosecution.
Luncheon’s alleged proposal to tackle only the money laundering side of drug trafficking without fighting the other side of drug trafficking that includes murdering, killing, blood spilling, gun trafficking, people smuggling, prostitution dealing, legitimate business-crushing and gambling is ludicrous.
As long as there is no prosecution of drug cartels, any other proposals will be a waste of time.
Luncheon’s alleged proposals amounted to changing nothing, doing nothing and achieving nothing. It would have been life as usual for drug cartels who operated as if they owned this land. A party of shame that has brought shame to this land is talking about shame-based anti-drug strategies.
How do you shame the shameless who shamelessly kill, maim and corrupt a country in order to poison its children and children of other people abroad?
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