Guyana Government upset by latest US Trafficking in Persons Report
The Ministerial Task Force on Trafficking in Persons (MTFTIP), which is chaired by Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee, today expressed concern about the latest US report on Trafficking in Persons, claiming that the report was sexed up. The Task Force said the Report contains several inaccuracies and misrepresentations with regard to the scope of trafficking in persons in Guyana.
The Ministerial Task Force comprises representatives of mainly Government Ministries.
The Task Force dismissed as spurious the claim that Indonesian workers were subjected to forced labor on several Guyanese-flagged fishing boats off the coast of Trinidad and Tobago.
The statement released by Minister Rohee’s office said that the Government has no knowledge of this matter whatsoever and considers it a brazen attempt on the part of the US State Department to resort to an extraterritorial issue in an effort to bring some degree of credence to a Report that is riddled with fabrications. Further, the statement from the Ministerial Task Force said that by including this matter without providing information on it to the Government of Guyana, the US State Department has contravened an agreement between US Embassy Officials and Ministers of the Task Force to share information on trafficking in persons.
The US report stated that the Government of Guyana does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, but is is making significant efforts to do so.
The Ministerial Task Force said that the Government of Guyana strictly adheres to and upholds the minimum standards of the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children and its own “Combating Trafficking in Persons Act No. 2 of 2005”. The Ministerial Task Force said that Guyana, as a sovereign nation, is not a signatory to the United States’ Trafficking Victims Protection Act and consequently is not required to follow that act.
The US Report pointed out that the the government failed to demonstrate evidence of increasing efforts to hold trafficking offenders accountable with jail time over the previous reporting period.
The Government said that it has told the US Government on numerous occasions that it has no control over the Judiciary and the Magistracy.
The Ministerial Task Force said that the decision to convict or not is one exclusively for the Court and that the tangible role for Government is to ensure that the relevant legislation is in place and in this regard it has passed a very comprehensive Trafficking in Persons Act.
The Government said that all reports of trafficking in persons are investigated, charges are instituted based on the evidence and the Courts decide on the culpability of the alleged perpetrator.