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DEA to screen Guyana’s anti-narcotics agents

Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan and US Ambassador to Guyana, Perry Holloway sign the agreement for vetting anti-narcotics agents. Also present were Head of the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit, James Singh and Deputy Chief of the US Embassy, Bryan Hunt.

Guyana and the United States (US) have agreed that anti-narcotics agents would be undergo lie-detection tests and other advanced screening methods over the next five years.

Assistance would be provided by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) which has been increasing its permanent presence in Guyana to systematically go after drug lords by gathering intelligence and building cases for effective prosecution.

“Members of Guyana’s Law Enforcement sector who will participate in this Vetted Unit Program will have to pass certain background checks, plus tests as to medical and psychological fitness for duty, polygraph testing and random drug testing,” according to a statement issued by the Ministry of the Presidency.

The DEA will be responsible for all expenses for training, whether this be local or international.

Signed by American Ambassador to Guyana, Perry Holloway and Vice President and Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan, the Memorandum of Understanding provides for the the operation of a vetted counter-narcotic investigative unit programme. The Minister signed on behalf of the Customs Anti-Narcotic Unit (CANU) and the Ambassador on behalf of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Witnessing the signing was the Head of the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU), James Singh.

Both sides hope that better screened anti-narcotics agents would help dent drug smuggling network.

“This program is intended to ensure better investigations and interdictions, and to prosecute and dismantle high-value targets in narco-trafficking networks,” added the statement.

Government explained that the mission of the DEA’s Vetted Unit Program of the Drug Enforcement Administration is to train, equip and provide necessary assistance to partner countries so that specialized units in those countries can meet certain mutually-determined standards and can increase capacity in integrity, professionalism, and competence in fighting drug crime.

Meanwhile,  the US  Embassy’s Deputy Chief, Bryan Hunt says his country was considering a request by Guyana for  a high-powered portable container scanner to check the contents of containers at various wharves in Georgetown.   Huns says  their experts in United States are presently engaged in identifying costs and maintenance arrangement for such a crime fighting asset.

The US Government has also provided equipment for virtual police training by trainers out of USA through teleconferencing.  The equipment, which will be stationed at the Police Academy, has now come to fruition because of provision of higher speed internet services provided by Guyana Telephone and Telegraph (G T & T) to the Academy.

“There will now be more extensive and intensive training of officers and ranks in Guyana without the  expenses of having to bring to Guyana USA Trainers, or having to send to the USA the Guyanese Trainees,” according to the statement.