President must be personally involved in directing battle against illegal drugs -APNU

The main opposition APNU today said that President Donald Ramotar has to become personally involved in piloting the fight against illegal drugs and it hammered the PPP/C record on this front.

The statement came in the wake of last week’s discovery of a self-propelled semi-submersible marine vessel in the Waini, north west region which APNU says seemed to have been geared for drug exports on an `industrial scale’.

The APNU release follows:

President Donald Ramotar must do more than talk to stop narco-trafficking. He must become personally involved in directing the war on illegal narcotics which, apparently, are now being exported on an ‘industrial scale.’  The President’s response to last week’s discovery of a self-propelled semi-submersible (SPSS) marine vessel in the Barima-Waini Region is deeply disturbing.

The President, according to the Government Information Agency (GINA), stated: “We will spend whatever is necessary; I can’t say that we will spend unlimited amounts. We have limited resources, and we have competing areas that we want to put our money into.” 

The President’s response is weak. It ignores the facts that, for two decades the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) has failed to curb trafficking in illegal narcotics. A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) calls on the President to immediately:

–         execute a credible national drug strategy master plan;

–         establish an effective national enforcement structure;

–         enforce current legislation vigorously; and

–         equip the security forces with the assets to curb the trade.

These tasks must not be left to the Minister of Home Affairs who has failed to curb the drug trade. It is clear that the PPP/C either has lost interest in ending the narco-trade or is untroubled by the damage that the trade is doing to this country and its people. APNU calls on the President to address the following facts:

  • International Narcotics Control Strategy Report: The US Department of State continues to warn in its annual International Narcotics Control Strategy Report that “Guyana is a trans-shipment point for South American cocaine on its way to North America and Europe.”
  • National Drug Strategy Master Plan: The PPP/C Administration currently has no effective counter-narcotics strategy.  The last plan – National Drug Strategy Master Plan, 2005-2009 – was never fully implemented. It expired five years ago and was never replaced.
  • Anti-Narcotics agencies: This country’s two counter-narcotics agencies, Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit and Police Anti-Narcotics Unit, have never been provided with the surveillance aircraft, river and coastal patrol boats, all-terrain vehicles and trained personnel needed to secure the country’s international transit points, coasts and borders. They are incapable of locating, identifying, investigating and prosecuting the major drug cartels.
  • Narcotics trafficking: This country, under the PPP/C Administration, has become a warehouse and an international emporium from which narco-traffickers export their merchandise to foreign markets. Hardly a month passes that cocaine is not discovered in shipments of  fruit and vegetables such as achar; awara; boulanger; coconut milk; mango; pineapple; rice; ochro; pepper; star-apples, among many other commodities.
  • Mafia connection: Guyanese, in February, were shocked to learn that US and Italian law-enforcement agencies had uncovered a trans-Atlantic mafia ring responsible for trafficking in cocaine exported from this country. This development has extremely serious security implications.

The People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) for over two decades has demonstrated a lack of ‘political will’ to eradicate narco-trafficking. The public is fed up with the PPP/C’s false promises, failed plans, the rate of ‘execution’ murders and the bogus war on narcotics-trafficking.

President Donald Ramotar must accept responsibility for the failure of the PPP/C’s counter-narcotics campaign. He must make more than ‘limited’ promises. He must commit his Administration absolutely to effective performance.

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