Government of Guyana lacks political will to investigate and prosecute drug trafficking organizations – 13th Mar 2013
Guyana has seen its political and judicial infrastructure impacted by narco-influence, while its economy has become increasingly affected by narco-dollars, that is according to the latest report compiled by the State Department for the US Congress.
The annual report notes this year that drug trafficking organizations based in Guyana, are beginning to use neighboring Suriname as a major distribution hub. The cocaine is smuggled into Guyana and then transported to Suriname for safekeeping and distribution. In these instances, Suriname is used as a stash location and distribution country for drugs entering Guyana. In other cases, drugs depart directly from Guyana, the report pointed out.
In terms of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Act (AMLCFTA), the Interception of Communications Bill, and the Criminal Procedure Bill, the report added that these were designed to enhance both the investigative capability of law enforcement authorities and prosecutors’ ability to obtain convictions in drug related cases. In 2011, however, there have been no convictions under these laws, and there is an apparent lack of political will to investigate and prosecute drug trafficking organizations in Guyana. At least that is what the US State department is reporting to the US Congress. On Money Laundering, Guyana remains in the category of countries of concern.
The report expressed concern, so to speak, about the 1931 Extradition Treaty between the United States and the United Kingdom, which is also applicable to the United States and Guyana. This is a treaty that permits extradition only for offenses listed. Recent rulings in extradition hearings have severely challenged this treaty according to the report. For example, in 2008, a Guyanese court first made provisional arrests of fugitives very difficult and a second court held that the treaty was invalid, because it lacked a re-extradition clause. The latter issue has been addressed by a recently enacted amendment to the Guyanese Fugitive Offenders Act. The United States has not sought any extraditions since its enactment.
The Government of Guyana signed a maritime counter-drug bilateral agreement with the United States Government in 2001, but has yet to take the necessary domestic action to bring the agreement into effect. The State Department Report on Narcotics noted too.