Guyanese law enforcement agents, who have violated human rights, would be barred from pursuing certain American-funded training programmes, according to Charge D’Affaires of the United States (US) embassy Bryan Hunt.
“The US law stipulates that anyone who is going to be receiving training under this programme has to go through human rights vetting to ensure that they did not commit any gross human rights violation,” he said.
The American diplomat said prospective trainees are checked against all records that US law enforcement agencies have in their possession and various public sources provided by non-governmental organisations. “It’s entirely a US government vetting process on the human rights side,” he said. Hunt said the US applies human rights standards in keeping with various international human rights conventions.
Recently, the Guyana government took steps to sack two policemen who were allegedly involved in burning the genitals of boy during a murder probe.
Hunt further explained that as part of an understanding with the Guyana government, security personnel from the Customs Anti Narcotics Unit (CANU) and the Serious Organised Crime Unit could undergo training by the Drug Enforcement Administration only after they have been subjected to lie-detection testing.
He was Monday speaking at the signing of a Letter Agreement with Guyana’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Carl Greenidge for the provision of an additional US$50,000 under the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI).
“I am confident that the programmes that these funds are intended to support in basic police training, specialized counter-narcotics training and enhanced border security training will continue to strengthen Guyana’s capacity to respond to the threats posed by international criminal elements operating in the region,” said Hunt. He said the programmes have been crafted I close collaboration with Guyanese law enforcement agencies.
Asked by Demerara Waves Online News whether integrity testing (lie-detection) was one of the requirements before security personnel could participate in the US-funded programmes, the American diplomat explained that US law bars human rights offenders from doing so.
Foreign Affairs Minister Greenidge listed several areas in which Guyana will benefit from this latest CBSI project. They include providing training, equipment and technical assistances to the police force and the Customs Anti Narcotics Unit’s (CANU) capabilities to conduct counter-narcotics operations by air, water and land.
Guyanese personnel would also be trained in judicial procedures, detection of fraudulent documents, identification and handling of suspicious persons and the smuggling of aliens and goods across borders.
Emphasis would also be placed on collecting “actionable intelligence” on drug trafficking through training and equipment to be provided with the US funds.
This latest Letter of Intent provides additional support to CANU to vet its personnel. Provision is also made for reforming the prison system, improving case management, ensuring transparency and accountability and supporting training in investigating and prosecuting complex financial crimes, money laundering, and asset forfeiture.
The US also intends to help Guyana build capacity to collect, analyse and present forensic evidence by providing training, equipment and techniques on crime scene investigation and evidence collection.