The Guyana Police Force has been making narcotic substances available for sniffer dogs at the airport

Dear Editor,

The Guyana Police Force is responding to an article published in the Sunday Stabroek of May 2, 2010, under the caption ‘No drugs for sniffer dogs stymies detection at airport.’

The article stated that drug detection dogs in Guyana have been unable to detect illegal substances on persons or in suitcases at the airport mainly because police authorities refuse to provide the drugs for the dogs to sample, which according to experts is crucial to their performance.

The article went on to state that the issue came to light recently when former police constable and dog handler Maurice Smith revealed in an affidavit that Crime Chief Seelall Persaud has in the past refused to give the Canine Division of the Guyana Police Force cocaine for the dogs to sample.

The Guyana Police Force states that the allegation is far from the truth and wishes to clarify the situation.

Former Special Constable Maurice Smith was one of four police dog handlers who attended a three-week training programme in Narcotic Detection and Tracking at the United States K9 Unlimited  Inc between April 01 and April 21, 2006.

They returned to the country with four dogs, including Argon, which they had used for the training overseas and during which the dogs had been exposed to cocaine, marijuana, ecstasy, meth and heroin.

During the training the dogs were also involved in the searching of buildings, vehicles, baggage and aircraft.

Special Constable Smith and the other dog handler brought back with them a quantity of pseudo cocaine which is used for the purpose of training the dogs.

Subsequently, during May 2006, Special Constable Smith requested real cocaine for use in the training of the dogs and this was provided by the Officer-in-Charge of the Narcotics Branch along with a quantity of marijuana which was also requested. Over the years varying amounts of cocaine, pseudo cocaine and marijuana were made available to the Canine Section for training purposes with the last recorded date being September 21, 2009, when a quantity of marijuana was provided.

The Police Force wishes to further state that the administration is very concerned about the training and work of the dogs, especially at the CJIA, and has been making available the resources requested by the handlers in order to ensure that they can perform effectively.

Yours faithfully,
Ivelaw Whittaker
Public Relations and Press Officer
Guyana Police Force

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