Guyana moves to stamp out identity theft, boost border intelligence, fight narcotics

Last Updated on Thursday, 13 October 2016, 15:54 by Denis Chabrol

Guyana has decided to take steps to stamp out identity theft and boost border security intelligence, President David Granger announced on Thursday.

In an address to Parliament on the first day following the two-month recess, the President suggested that fingerprints would be included in Guyana’s new national identification cards.

“The National Registration (Amendment) Bill will guard against identity theft by allowing for inclusion of the biometrics of citizens to be recorded on their national registration cards,” he said.

In the past, authorities have had cause to be worried about forged national identification cards and birth certificates. The Department of Immigration and Citizenship has already embarked on a project to digitize the birth and death records dating back to the early 1900s.

The President also announced that the law would be amended to delink the Immigration Department form the Guyana Police Force.

Plans are also in the pipeline for the beefing up of intelligence at Guyana’s borders and a more aggressive fight of the narco-trade through the establishment of an overarching National Anti-Narcotics Agency (NANA). “We will establish a new National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) to ensure better surveillance of our borders and coasts,” the President said.

His announcement of the formation of NISA comes weeks after a Commission of Inquiry was launched into the presence of an illegal plane at Yupukari, Rupununi in southern  Guyana to determine, among other things, whether there was a lapse in intelligence gathering and coordination among the relevant law enforcement agencies.

The President also said government has  decided to re-engage the United Kingdom with a view to restoring the aborted Security Sector Reform Action Plan (SSRAP). “The Plan will commence soon with the arrival of experts from the United Kingdom to advise us on crafting a national security response to domestic and transnational crime – including narcotics-trafficking and gun-running.”

Though the President dealt extensively with the alleged links of three  People’s Progressive Party Civic government ministers to death squads during the 2002-2009 crime spree and the killing of Agriculture Minister, Satyadeow “Sash”  Sawh in 2006, he did not announce the holding of a Commission of Inquiry in keeping with previous promises.

No mention was made of any plan to revive Guyana’s ailing economy that is now largely being braced by gold production.