Security sector continues to be strengthened
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Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan
Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan

…Ramjattan tells Leguan residents

RESIDENTS of Leguan were assured by Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan, during a meeting in the community on Sunday, that Guyana’s security sector has been strengthened over the past four years.

Minister Ramjattan noted that the Guyana Police Force (GPF) is much more robust in its delivery of service, thanks, in large measure, to regular capacity building. According to the minister, close to 500 officers have, thus far, benefited from international training. He said that prior to 2015, such training for police officers was non-existent. Citizens, he said, can make complaints against errant members of the force and be assured that the matter will be investigated and due process followed.

“What this administration has done is ensure that people like you can speak out,” Minister Ramjattan told the residents. He emphasised that the government places importance on listening to the people.

He pointed out that the force has been boosted with the construction of 12 police stations across the country with another 12 receiving massive upgrades.

The minister reminded that Guyana was once drug infested. However, through collaboration with the Drug Enforcement Agency and the United States Embassy, that situation no longer exists. Also, the Customs Anti-Narcotic Unit (CANU) is now better equipped and is “cutting the profits of those involved in the drug trade”.

The United States Government in its 2019 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report said the Government of Guyana has demonstrated political will to combat the scourge throughout the country. Washington said that, during the first nine months of 2018, authorities seized 164.9 kilograms (kg) of cocaine and 889 kg of cannabis. “Guyanese authorities initiated 358 prosecutions and convicted 24 individuals for drug trafficking,” the United States said.

The report noted that cocaine is concealed in legitimate commodities and smuggled through commercial and private air transport, maritime vessels, human couriers, “go-fast” boats, and various postal systems. The United States also said it enjoys strong cooperation with Guyana in advancing mutual interests against the threat of international drug trafficking. Guyana, the US said has shown strong interest in furthering collaboration under Caribbean Basin Security Initiative. “The United States looks forward to tangible progress on investigations, prosecutions, and extraditions; expanding security sector capacity; engaging at-risk communities; and enforcing laws against money laundering and financial crimes. To advance cooperation, Guyana should take steps to implement the 2001 counterdrug bilateral agreement with the United States to suppress illicit trafficking by sea and air. Guyana should seek to enhance its anti-corruption initiatives and fully pursue prosecutions for drug trafficking in accordance with its laws.”

Additionally, the report said the United States supports a wide range of efforts designed to address crime and violence affecting Guyanese citizens, primarily through the CBSI. CBSI is a security partnership between the United States and Caribbean countries that seeks to substantially reduce illicit trafficking, advance public safety and citizen security, and promote justice. Efforts to increase law enforcement capabilities, protect borders, air and seaports, strengthen workforce development, and promote anti-money laundering effectiveness directly address priority concerns shared by Guyana and the United States.
Meanwhile, residents were also informed that Guyana gained a Tier One status against Trafficking in Persons. That, Minister Ramjattan noted, is another feat achieved by the government to ensure its citizens are protected.

As further proof that the government is working to guarantee the security of Guyanese, the minister pointed to the recently commissioned state-of-the-art DNA laboratory which will help in solving crimes much faster. “I want you to appreciate what has been happening,” the minister stated. He noted that it is imperative that residents reflect on all the development that has occurred in the past four years as compared to the 23 years of the opposition rule. With oil production set to commence in mere months, the residents were assured by Minister Ramjattan of further massive development throughout the country.

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