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Region must ‘up drug fight’

rhondathompson, [email protected]

Region must ‘up drug fight’

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WASHINGTON – Even as Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nations adopt a series of measures aimed at addressing the spiraling drug trade, the United States says more still needs to be done in stamping out or curbing the menace.
In its annual International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), released earlier this week, the US Department of State described regional efforts in attacking all aspects of narco-trafficking while simultaneously assailing some countries for not doing enough.
It was, perhaps, most critical of Guyana, urging the Bharrat Jagdeo administration to “effectively implement recent legislation and regulations supporting counternarcotics efforts.
“We look forward to collaborating with Guyanese law enforcement to test the amended extradition law and emphasize the need for vigorous enforcement of laws against money laundering and financial crimes,” the State Department said.
It said recently-acquired equipment, such as the maritime patrol craft and container scanner by the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), should be “optimized for long term use through development of training, evaluation and maintenance requirements.”
The report, however, said the execution of joint operations through task forces to accomplish complex raids and seize record amounts of marijuana “signal a stronger commitment to the counternarcotics mission and the rule of law.”
But the INCSR said Guyana is a transshipment point for cocaine from Colombia and Venezuela destined for North America, Europe, and the Caribbean.
“Due to weak land and maritime border controls and the vast unpatrolled interior, drug traffickers are able to conduct operations without significant interference from law enforcement agencies,” it said.
“The ability to detect drug shipments has received some recent investment, but a lack of focused interdiction operations and the capacity to monitor and control its expansive borders hinder enforcement of anti-trafficking laws,” it added. (CMC)