James Singh removed as CANU Head

Last Updated on Friday, 16 June 2017, 14:36 by Denis Chabrol

Mr. James Singh has been removed from the post of Head of the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit, following a Commission of Inquiry into the detention and release of a suspected drugs-laden ship earlier this year.

When contacted Friday afternoon, Singh said he was informed, but he declined to give details or discuss the matter further.

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon said Friday that  President David Granger, who ordered the probe, has given Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan “some clear guidance” on what has to be done including Singh’s removal.

“That would be one of the guidance,” when asked whether Granger has asked for the Head of CANU to be removed.

Singh’s contract expires in another three years and his now three-month long leave ends in July.

The Commission of Inquiry had also sought to determine the circumstances under which CANU received information, including the exact date and time of the receipt of such information, that an unnamed private maritime vessel , entered into, was detained and searched in the sea space of Guyana between 11 and 14th February, 2017..
Two days later, on February 16, 2017 another vessel with four Guyanese aboard were intercepted by United States and Trinidad authorities in international waters with 4.2 tons of cocaine-the biggest haul in 20 years.

In addition to determining whether the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit had the authority to order the release of the vessel and whether such an order was lawful and/or justifiable in the circumstances, he probe sought to determine whether any “foreign power” had anything to do with the operation. “…the instructions issued to the Guyana Defence Force Coast Guard, the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit and the role of any foreign law enforcement agencies in the conduct of the operation to intercept, detain and search said vessel.”

The commissioners were Retired Brigadier, Bruce Lovell; Retired Assistant Commissioner of Police, Winston Cosbert and Ministry of the Presidency official, Christine Bailey.

Lovell had previously probed allegations against CANU by now convicted drug trafficker, Barry Dataram.