The Guyana Defence Force (GDF) on Wednesday met with a delegation from APNU during which narco-terrorism and the drug trade were discussed.
A release from the GDF on Monday said that Chief of Staff Brigadier Mark Phillips received a courtesy call from a delegation of the Parliamentary Opposition, headed by Brigadier (ret’d) David Granger. Other members of the delegation were Members of Parliament Joseph Harmon and Winston Felix.
The GDF receiving team comprised Deputy Chief of Staff Colonel Khemraj Persaud and other senior staff officers.
The GDF release said that discussions centred on the new dimension of narco-terrorism and the volume of drugs being shipped through Guyana. According to the release, the APNU team highlighted its concern about the holistic nature of smuggling in Guyana as it relates to fuel, drugs, gold and wildlife.
“They also registered their concern with the involvement of the Italian Mafia having Guyanese connections in cocaine trafficking, and its impact on the security of our senior government personnel and leaders”, the release said.
It added that the opposition team also voiced concerns over the absence of an effective Drug Strategy Master Plan and the “inability of the authorities to maintain a viable counter-narcotic scheme.”
To this end, the release said that APNU expressed an expectation that the Guyana Defence Force would lead the Joint Services in the effort against narco-trafficking.
The release said that the opposition delegation also stated their support for the recapitalisation of the GDF in the acquisition of aviation , maritime and land transport assets to combat narco-trafficking. It assured the Force’s leadership of its support for the GDF’s budget in the National Assembly
“The Chief of Staff re-iterated to the Leader of the Opposition that any new Drug Strategy Master Plan must be covered by the enabling legislation promised by the soon to be enacted Anti-Money Laun-dering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Act. In this regard , the Opposition Leader committed himself to the support of the passage of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-ing the Financing of Terrorism Act in the House of Assem-bly”, the release further said.