President David Granger has said that the downgraded British-funded Security Sector Reform Programme (SSRP) would be more beneficial than the United States’ (US) Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI).
“It (CBSI) is useful and it is necessary but we have had to take other interventions and that is why we have indicated to the United Kingdom government for the UK Security Sector Reform action plan- that will make a more direct and a greater measurable impact on crime in Guyana than CBSI,” he said. “CBSI is good but the SSRP is better.”
British High Commissioner to Guyana, Greg Quinn has already said monies for the SSRP would be reduced because infrastructural development across the Caribbean has been deemed by Britain to be more important than security. Under the then People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) administration, the SSRP had been abandoned over ownership and the desire by the UK for British forces to conduct live firing exercises in western Guyana near Brazil and Venezuela and a Guyanese Amerindian community.
The President said the CBSI, through which a top government spokeswoman said Guyana has so far received US$1.2 million in assistance since the project began in 2011, represents America’s national interest. “We have other priorities. It is serving quite well- the CBSI- but the priorities are not necessarily the ones that affect Guyanese on a day-to-day basis,” Granger, a retired Brigadier of the Guyana Defence Force, said on his weekly programme, Public Interest.’
Under the CBSI, which largely seeks to combat drug trafficking and money laundering, Guyana has benefitted from projects that seek to lead youths away from a life of crime and improve the capacity of the GDF’s Coast Guard.
The President said the CBSI’s focus appeared not to be the concerns of some small Caribbean nations and “the money is spread very thinly” among the 15 Caricom member states
Granger noted that the philosophy behind the CBSI is aimed at satisfying the donor’s interests of dealing with certain types criminal activities and preventing them from getting into the US.