Jan 25, 2022 News
– launches month-long prog. to weaken transnational criminal organisations
Kaieteur News – The United States, through the Department of State’s office of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL), kicked off a six-month programme on Monday to strengthen Guyanese port security and container control.
The United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime’s (UNODC) Container Control Program, in partnership with the World Customs Organization (WCO), is implementing the project, which is aimed at weakening transnational criminal organisations and deterring the trafficking of illicit goods.
Officials from the WCO opened the programme with a two-week virtual training course for members of Port Control Units, composed of members of the Guyana Police Force, Guyana Revenue Authority, Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit, MARAD, and the GDF Coast Guard, providing them training in profiling, targeting, and inspecting containers.
In a press release the US Embassy said the training will give them the skills to effectively detect suspicious and illicit goods, and make sure goods departing Guyana have been properly declared and duties paid.
UNODC’s Container Control Program works worldwide to promote legitimate trade by enhancing container screening capacities. It provides training, equipment, and access to communications data and tools from the World Customs Organization. The programme is part of the ongoing commitment by the United States to the security of Guyana and the region.
Meanwhile, during the opening ceremony, GRA Commissioner-General, Godfrey Statia said his agency was pleased to be involved with the UNODC and WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) “in our collective efforts to build capacity in our local law enforcement agencies in risk management and profiling, supply chain and border security, inspection, and trade facilitation while simultaneously minimising cross-border movement of illicit goods.”
Statia said as Guyana becomes the regional leader in transshipment services through its increased construction of deep-water port facilities, the challenges faced with illicit trade, crime, and security are expected to increase. “We therefore need to ensure that we are prepared to meet these challenges and ensure compliance with Guyanese and international laws. Consequently, there is a greater need for our officers to be more trained, prepared and vigilant, as criminal elements seeking to ply their trade increase their activities through Guyana’s ports,” the tax chief said.
According to him, the multi-agency approach, as was evident from the representation at the forum, is necessary “as our local enforcement agencies improve our efforts to stem the tide of these illicit and criminal activities.”
“With the continued support of the UNODC, the WCO, and the US Government, Customs Officers and our sister law enforcement colleagues will be better prepared to identify, seize and detain criminal elements and their products that destroy the livelihoods of the citizens of the world,” Statia underscored.
“I therefore thank the donors for their support, and urge the participants to make full use of the training provided. The Comptroller, Customs, Excise & Trade Operations, GRA, who is present here, is aware of my expectations, and will monitor and coordinate with the other law enforcement agencies accordingly to increase our chances of success.”
The GRA boss thanked Mr. Alberto Varela, Coordinator for the Caribbean, UNODC, Container Control Programme who since his appointment has made it his duty to improve the working relationship and co-ordination between the law enforcement agencies in the entire Caribbean. “We also thank the Agency for the equipment provided to the GRA during the latter half of last year. This we assure you will help in our continued fight against the various criminal elements. I take this opportunity to urge other agencies to do likewise.”
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