The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) officially opened its doors today amidst calls for forged alliances as the DEA alone cannot be effective. Regional Director, D.E.A Matthew Donahue said his team brings a wealth of knowledge to Guyana and noted it is important to catch the ‘big fish’.
“It does not do too much good to arrest a guy with heroin or cocaine or crack on the street if we can’t bring that back to the organisation and use the judicial programme here and the judicial support to bring entire organisation down,” said Donahue, who is the newly assigned regional head.
He said the approach to transnational crimes must not be myopic and urged all stakeholders to “look at a worldwide approach” to the problems. The Regional Director stressed that the DEA is not a ‘fly-by-night’ entity and is opened for ideas.
“You need the support and we need the support,” he added, noting that the DEA’s office here is going to be successful.
“We are going to be successful; our people are going to work hard,” Donahue assured.
Meanwhile, U.S. Ambassador Perry Holloway in brief remarks noted the significance of having the DEA’s presence in Guyana. He said while the DEA has no arresting powers, it will advise and assist the government of Guyana. There will be lots of information sharing, he remarked.
“While this is a historic moment… [the DEA’s presence] is not going to change things overnight,” Ambassador Holloway said, noting that “the bad guys are well funded.”
“It is a very complicated issue… one shouldn’t expect overnight results…Give them time to get the job done,” he said.
Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan said the presence of a DEA office in Guyana has many benefits and will see a number of persons within the Guyana Police Force, the Guyana Defence Force and the judiciary being trained overseas.
“It is important that we all do this together,” the Minister stated as he reiterated the need for all stakeholders to work as a team.
“There is so much crime and violence in our society today…as a result largely of drugs. It is important for us knowing that and being science based on how we are going to counter crime and violence,” the Minister stated.
According to him, the DEA office will be a significant asset to the Law enforcement agencies here as much ancillary information would also be passed on. “It will be of tremendous help to Guyana,” Ramjattan noted.
The launch of the office saw a large contingent of invites from the Guyana Police Force, Guyana Defence Force, Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit, and the Judiciary present. The DEA office is being housed within the U.S Embassy complex, Kingston.