Why does it appear as if the President is putting preconditions to the developed world before partnering them in the war on drugs?

Dear Editor,
In the Stabroek News article captioned ‘Guyana open to partnership in drugs war –President’ in the March 19, 2009 edition, the President stated in a speech delivered to Guyana Police Force’s annual officers’ conference that Guyana wants partnership status in the war on drugs. It appears from his comments that the government has been lectured by developed nations about the direction of its war on drugs. Also, the President’s comments suggested that requests for assistance with prosecution were not adequately addressed or addressed at all.

It seemed that the President was particularly upset. This is Guyana, the very nation which could not find a single shred of prosecutable evidence against the country’s most powerful drug kingpin, but that individual pleaded guilty before trial in one of those developed nations after that nation had assembled evidence from Guyana against him. Guyana was unable to prosecute based on this evidence. Given Guyana’s poor track record in prosecuting drug lords, what better assistance with prosecution is available than to extradite those wanted men to jurisdictions that can better prosecute them! This is a nation where several major drug lords allegedly operate in the country. This is the nation which has made the news in some of those developed nations with major drug busts in the past few months. Launching into a tirade against the very nation that successfully prosecuted Guyana’s biggest drug lord and moreso within days of the accomplishment, leaves even the most casual observer wondering about the President’s rant.

Within days of Roger Khan’s plea in the USA, we have witnessed the almost immediate suggestion of a number of preconditions of Guyana’s deepened participation in the war on drugs, along with a blistering assault on the shortcomings of the USA’s law enforcement capabil-ity. Some of the President’s comments are positivelydisturbing

Partnership as expressed by the President seems to suggest an imposition of preconditions, restrictions and limitations on Guyana’s participation in the war on drugs even before the war has started. No developed nation would ever agree to this proposal. Is this a case where the President’s comments would lead to the perception that the standards for entry into Guyana to battle the drug trade are raised at the outset, thereby effectively causing drug-fighting agencies of developed nations to back off from Guyana? Isn’t this the same partnership proposal that has effectively been the reason for the absence of major drug-fighting agencies in Guyana all along? Why would they descend upon Guyana now?

The President’s attacks on the USA’s law enforcement problems is obfuscatory. The central issue is Guyana and its future actions on drug trafficking arising from within its borders. The issue is not that of the capabilities of US law enforcement unless the President is implying that the Americans cannot fight drugs at home and should not attempt to do so in Guyana. The issue is, as stated, Guyana’s drug trade. At least the USA strenuously fights the narcotic trade. Despite its law enforcement troubles, its record of prosecuting drug kingpins and disrupting narco trade is stellar compared to Guyana. It has proven that it is a more capable, formidable, better armed, trained, sophisticated, effective and potent drug fighting force than Guyana, despite its law enforcement problems. It continues to fight to prevent the scourge of drugs from dominating its landscape. Those undeniable facts clearly place the USA in a superior position to Guyana with respect to the war on drugs.

That is not to say that the Guyana government cannot impose some oversight, but it is the extent of oversight that may be problematic with the partnership proposal. The Guyanese public sincerely hopes that the President’s speech was simply harmless banter playing to the gallery and not pre-shaping an agenda for the nation’s future battle against drugs in concert with the developed world. Maybe the President will clarify what exactly  partnership in this context means.
Yours faithfully,
(Name and address provided)

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