Commission of Inquiry into drug lord’s allegations against CANU contains “sensitive information”

Last Updated on Thursday, 4 August 2016, 13:42 by Denis Chabrol

The full report of the Commission of Inquiry into allegations by self-confessed drug trafficker, Barry Dataram against the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) is not likely to be made public because the identities of certain persons have to be protected.

“There is some sensitive information in that report and I think it’s a matter of how you treat the information with the information there as it would affect reputations, persons who are in office and so on,”  Minister of State, Joseph Harmon told Demerara Waves Online News.

He said the report is now with the Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan who would decide on making it public.

President David Granger has already said that Dataram’s testimony before the Commission of Inquiry conducted by Retired Brigadier Bruce Lovell did not provide a sufficient basis to implicate that law enforcement unit which comes under the Ministry of Public Security.

Harmon noted that he was wary of the likelihood that currently serving public officers could be affected or damaged by allegations already appearing in the media.

Based on Harmon’s statement that the integrity of certain persons was at risk, he was asked whether he believed there could be shakeup at CANU. He said “I do not know whether there is going to be a major shakeup at CANU.”

He restated that government’s position is that there would be a change in the architecture of the fight against drugs would “undergo some change with the establishment of a national anti-narcotics agency that will see greater levels of coordination in the agencies that are involved in the fight against illegal drugs.”

The National Anti-Narcotics Agency is expected to oversee coordination of the work of CANU, Guyana Revenue Authority and Guyana Police Force.

Over the years, there have been instances in which CANU’s mode of operations have been called into question and given rise to calls for systems to be put in place to ensure greater transparency and accountability in the eyes of the wider public and even drug accused.

In the past, a number of CANU agents have had their services terminated after lie detection tests had been conducted.