Guyana has now joined a number of other Caribbean and Latin American countries in having the permanent presence of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration based in the country.
The US Embassy in Georgetown launched the DEA office in Guyana this morning and the agency is already promising success as its get ready to offer more assistance to the Guyanese authorities in tackling the drug trade.
The DEA office will be based at the US Embassy in Georgetown.
At a simple launching ceremony, Regional Director for the DEA, Matthew Donahue said it is important for there to be partnership in the drug fight.
“Thanks for welcoming us into your country, Thanks for welcoming us into this Mission and giving us the support to work with you and I promise you this, We will be successful”, he declared.
The DEA official stressed that the agency cannot do it alone and that is the reason it believes it is important to forge relationships. He said “we have nothing to hide. We put it on the table”, adding that the agency will be looking to root out the problem and go after the big drug dealers. He said persons should not be fooled that when they see one bust, it would be the only one of that type. Others exist, he added.
Guyana’s Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan, told the gathering of Judicial officials, Police and Army Chiefs, Security officials and Diplomats that he believes the simple permanent presence of the DEA in Guyana now, will be able to play a role in deterring persons from getting involved in the narco trade.
According to Mr. Ramjattan, “the mere presence of this unit out of America will have a deterring effect in my opinion, the fact that such an important institution and such an important drug interdiction unit is here”.
He added that while the DEA agents would not have police powers, the presence of the agents in Guyana and their ability to disrupt networks and get to them is welcomed. He said is is also pleased that the DEA would be assisting Guyana in other areas, including efforts to tackle gold smuggling and money laundering. The Public Security Minister thanked the US Government for its assistance by setting up the office here and said the US can be assured that the Government of Guyana is its friend.
US Ambassador Perry Holloway reminded that the DEA agents will not be going around “kicking down doors and dragging people out on the streets”, but rather they will play a major role in working along with the local agencies in tackling the drug trade and providing information to the local agencies that will be of benefit in the efforts to counter the narco trade.
Before the office was set up, Guyana would have to rely on information from the DEA office in Trinidad and Tobago, although agents would be in Guyana from time to time. The request to have a DEA office in Guyana was made and approved under the former President Donald Ramotar.
Although Guyana does not serve as a source point for cocaine, the country has been named as a transshipment point for cocaine heading to North America and Europe from South America. There have been several drug busts over the years and the local agencies in charge of tackling the narco trade have been working closer with the US authorities in their efforts to arrest the situation.
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