–over 2,000 kilos of illegal drugs destroyed
IN keeping with government’s efforts to combat the trafficking of narcotics and other illegal substances, the government is working to bring the local ‘Witness Protection Programme’ into operation, according to Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn.
During a drug eradication exercise on Saturday, Minister Benn told the press that there is some “level of fear” when it comes to witnesses providing the Guyana Police Force and the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) with information relating to the capture of persons involved in drug trafficking. As such, the government is taking the initiative to activate the witness protection programme.
He noted that collaboration with the public is the best way to ensure ranks have credible information which leads to the capture and prosecution of drug traffickers but for this to work, Benn said witnesses need to be assured that the government will put systems in place to keep them protected during this period.
“I think there is a particular fear which still resides amongst those who are still involved to come forward and give information, this is maybe understandable given the fact that some people get killed, executed but we have to work harder at it and we are working hard at the information; we have had some discussions with the Americans, the DEA and we’re upping our game in regards to this matter,” Minister Benn stated.
The Home Affairs Minister noted that since the government took office in August 2020 it has worked strategically to verify the identification of several persons who were confirmed to be involved in narco- trafficking.
Meanwhile, on Saturday, the GPF and CANU destroyed over 2,000 kilos of cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine, and other illicit drugs. The GPF disclosed that the narcotics destroyed are from operations conducted by the police and CANU over the last two years.
Minister Benn highlighted that there has been significant success in the fight against drug trafficking in several communities across Guyana and that significant seizures, destruction and the capture of planes and persons transporting narcotics have been recorded at Nine Miles, Potaro, Orealla, and Kwakwani.
Benn indicated that CANU has information relating to several high-ranking persons of interest in the drug and narcotics trafficking operations here. He noted that CANU ranks will act at the opportune time to ensure success in its operations.
Meanwhile, the minister noted that the government has continued boosting its efforts to ensure that the prosecutors representing the GPF and CANU can take these cases to court and have the drug traffickers convicted.
“There has been some training together with the Attorney General chambers with agencies in the United States either virtually or directly face-to-face with respect to prosecutorial training for the persons who have to go to court, representing the State in respect to these and other matters and so refresher training, of course, has to continue and we have to make sure that we have integrity in the work that is done at all levels,” Minister Benn noted.
Additionally, Head of CANU, James Singh noted that Guyana has benefitted from significant collaboration between the Guyana Police Force and other enforcement agencies which has played a pivotal role in the seizure of a large portion of narcotics and other illegal substances.
Singh further noted that sharing among regional counterparts and neighbouring countries is a lot more open which allows local authorities the opportunity to prepare for flyovers and landing by drug-laden aircraft into Guyana.
“A lot more open, a lot more is coming to the table and that is why we are able to identify specific areas where these aircraft are going, the patterns and the organisations behind it,” Singh stated.