Some time before moves can be made locally against traffickers convicted in US -Rohee
The US authorities have provided their Guyanese counterparts with a list of names of suspected Guyanese dealers “to watch” but it may be some time before any moves are made locally against the assets of convicted drug traffickers in the US, according to Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee.
While Cabinet Secretary Dr Roger Luncheon earlier this week had said that the authorities were receiving information from the US that would be used in the forfeiture of assets, Rohee later told the press that it may not be that easy as the persons were “convicted in America and not Guyana.”
When it was pointed out that the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) had moved against millions of dollars belonging to members of a convicted drug gang in the UK which resulted in a conviction recently Rohee said that case was different.
“That was a different matter it is lil more complicated than that…” were the words of the security minister.
The government has been criticised over its failure to seize assets of well-known Guyanese businessmen who have been convicted in the US on drug trafficking charges. Chief among these is Roger Khan, who was reported to own several businesses including a forestry concession in Essequibo; auto-spares dealer Peter Morgan; and David Narine.
The latter are also known as businessmen in Guyana and owned several properties.
Rohee said there had been no holding back in terms of conducting an investigation locally with respect to persons convicted in the US.
“Nothing is holding us back, we are carrying out the investigation. [Crime Chief] Mr Seelall Persaud made a statement about a month ago that the investigations are proceeding; give the police a chance to do their painstaking work, you don’t want them to mess up, you don’t want them to make a move and then you laugh at them,” the minister said.
He later commented that there would always be unsolved crime and it was something that happened all over the world.
“That is why we are saying let the police continue their investigation and build up a case… we can’t go and ask the criminal justice system in America to extradite Roger Khan from America to Guyana now, these things have procedure,” he stated.
Meanwhile, he said there was need for the local authorities always to be a step ahead of drug dealers many of whom hide “under the net.
“That is why we always send the relevant personnel abroad to participate in conferences and seminars; we send them abroad for training because while the local experience is important it has to be blended with the international experiences of their colleagues from overseas,” he said; “that will help us.”
And the home affairs minister is optimistic that although the drug dealers try their best to hide he did not think it would “last for very long” as he preferred “to be optimistic in these matters.
“Remember when I said what’s his name is no Bin Laden – Fineman – a lot people laughed at me saying Rohee is fooling himself, but you know as well as I do and we all know this from going to Sunday school… that good always triumphs over evil.
It is always a question of time but you just can’t lay back and say, look ah waiting on time; you have to constantly keep sending your people to training… And not to do what some people do in the press, demoralising the joint services saying they are a waste of time…” he said.