Internet Radio

Anti-drug agents get new techniques to fight drugs at airports

Left to Right: Police Force Training Officer, Senior Superintendent Paul Williams; Police Commissioner Seelall Persaud; Home Affairs Minister, Clement Rohee and United States Ambassador, Brent Hardt with the graduates.

Guyanese anti-drug agents have been trained in new techniques by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) on how to intercept drugs at airports.

And Home Affair Minister, Clement Rohee has credited recent training programmes with recent drug finds despite several of the most innovative concealment methods by trafficker.

Recent training which the anti-narcotics agencies are receiving have impacted their efforts to dent the drug trade, Home Affairs Minister, Clement Rohee stated Friday afternoon.

Speaking to the media shortly after 21 persons graduated the DEA airport interdiction course at Guyana Police Force Officers Training College at  Eve Leary, Rohee stated that authorities are making “small victories” as efforts are being strengthened to curb the drug trade.

“The organisation is not only dismantled by catching the big fish ….whatever fish we catch that is in the net that is part of the network” , he added . He said that “if we don’t catch anyone at all.. I would say we are failing”, as he made reference to the recent interception of illicit drugs in a shipment of awarra at the Cheddi Jagan International airport.

Government and its law enforcement agencies are often criticized and questioned about their failure to catch drug barons, a number of whom have been caught elsewhere and taken to the US where they have been convicted and jailed.

“Detection and profiling is important by CANU (Customs Anti Narcotics Unit) and police narcotics branch is due to this constant training,they are getting are able to identity, drugs concealed in non- traditional products”, Rohee noted.

“I think we must see these steps , small victories as part of the efforts to dismantle the criminal enterprise because every time we stop them from exporting its millions of dollars they are losing “, he said of the drug trade.

He said it is affecting the businesses of the drug traffickers and according to him, “our task is to undermine economically their network, their criminal objective”.

“When will a big drug lord be caught”, Rohee was asked. He said that speaking as an  “ordinary Guyanese I would say this without fear of contradiction…anytime law enforcement agencies in this country have incontrovertible evidence that can be tested in the courts I feel confident they will be interdicted…they will be arrested an placed before the courts”.

He said he does not believe the politicians are failing in the drug fight since they lay the policies and the law enforcement agencies are following those policies. He said the degree to which the latter is successful has to be measured in the context of who are being caught and which enterprises are being affected.

“The people who are shipping out the awarra…,they have being affected….criminally speaking and they have been affected economically speaking”, he added.

US Ambassador to Guyana , Brendt  Hardt , speaking on the training said that by sharing best practices  including interviewing techniques and data analysis ,”I think we have been able to boost the law enforcement capacity here to enhance our security relationships  and to make sure criminals are not able to use our airports and our entry and exit for criminal driven purposes”.

He said airlines are frequently used to transport drugs cross border, and he noted that all arrests made are valued especially regarding training.

Members of the Guyana Police Force and CANU on Friday graduated from the training course which focussed on review of computer data analysis, methodologies, interviewing techniques, and the conduct of seizure operations.

This recent programme is part of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI)  which was launched by President Barack Obama at the Fifth Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago in April of 2009. Working together the US, Guyana and other nations in the Caribbean are combating the drug trade and other transnational crimes that threaten regional security.

Among the most creative means that have been used to smuggle huge quantities of cocaine are in consignments of ricer, timber, coconuts, fake noodles made of drinking straws, canned coconut milk, pineapples, star-apples, pepper sauce, rum and furniture.