Jul 12, 2013 News
“The Embassy here is the source of these inaccurate reports” – Dr. Luncheon
“The Department of State has credible sources to support every statement” – US Ambassador Hardt
Government believes that the United States Embassy in Georgetown is the source of inaccurate reports of Trafficking in Persons (TIP) in Guyana that are reflected in the US State Department’s 2013 TIP Report.
This is according to Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Roger Luncheon, while replying to a query about Government’s decision to not respond to yearly questionnaires on TIP as requested by the US Embassy in Georgetown.
On Wednesday, in a press release, the Ministerial Task Force on Trafficking in Persons (MTFTIP) expressed deep concern that the 2013 State Department’s Report on TIP in Guyana has not reviewed the country fairly.
“The Government of Guyana regrets that the US Embassy, though it requests every year responses of the Government of Guyana to a questionnaire on TIP, does not accurately reflect these responses in its Annual Report…Consequently, the Government of Guyana wishes to make it clear that in the future it will not be completing and returning questionnaires on Trafficking in Persons to the US authorities,” the MTFTIP said
According to Dr. Luncheon, “…the Embassy here, we feel, is the source of these inaccurate reports and in their headquarters State Department TIP…whatever you call it… organization…they have established how we move forward in dealing with our righteous indignation about the way we have been improperly treated.”
However, the US Embassy in Georgetown stands by the Department of State’s 2013 Trafficking in Persons Report on Guyana. And, even without Government filling out the questionnaires the US will still include Guyana in its reports. According to the Embassy, the report draws heavily on information provided by the Government of Guyana, which has been comprehensively incorporated into the report.
“We also draw on other sources including government officials, local and international NGO representatives, representatives of international organizations, journalists, academics, and trafficking survivors. The Department of State has credible sources to support every statement in the Report,” the Embassy said.
Guyana will continue to be featured in the Report, because the Department of State is mandated by U.S. law to assess Governments’ efforts worldwide to fight human trafficking according to minimum standards that are in line with the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons (Palermo Protocol).
“The U.S. Government solicits information from the Government of Guyana to help ensure the accuracy of the report. If the Government elects not to provide information, we will prepare the report based on all other available sources,” the Embassy declared.
According to the Embassy, there were a total of 188 countries and territories included in the 2013 Report. Countries all around the world are evaluated on an annual basis as part of this assessment, including Guyana.
According to the Embassy, the report provided Guyana with a suggested Action Plan, which can help to inform Government of specific actions that, if implemented, may positively affect its subsequent narrative and/or tier ranking in the 2014 TIP Report.
“The tier ranking reflects the effectiveness of a country’s efforts to meet obligations consistent with the UN’s Palermo Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons,” the Embassy said.
The Embassy said the US encouraged Guyana to boost its efforts to hold trafficking offenders accountable by vigorously and appropriately investigating and prosecuting forced prostitution and forced labour; develop partnership with NGOs’ standard operating procedures to guide and encourage frontline officials to identify and protect victims of forced labour and forced prostitution; offer protection and assistance for victims near mining communities; and foster a climate of open dialogue on trafficking that encourages people to come forward to authorities with potential cases.
According to the Embassy, it is hoped that Guyana and the TIP Task Force would focus efforts and resources on preventing future cases of TIP, protecting TIP victims, and strengthening the ability of Guyana’s law enforcement to conduct effective investigations that can stand up in court, so that perpetrators are held accountable.
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