Russia to write-off $50M more Guyana debt, help counter narcotics trafficking

Guyana is set to benefit from a further debt write-off of $50M this year from the Russian Government, after having already had a debt of US$16.3M or $3B from that country cancelled.

Russian Ambassador Nikolay Smirnov made this announcement in his feature address at a recent quarterly luncheon hosted by the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA)  at the Regency Hotel.

“We have written (off) the debt of Guyana to former Soviet Union which was (US)$16M and we have finalized this process which is more than $3Billion Guyanese dollars is written off in 2007 so the rest of it which is about $50M will be written this year and certain specific proposals are done on a bilateral level and we are finalizing this process,” the Russian envoy said. He also added that “It’s mainly our bureaucracy because we have new procedures…we will offer some of our products for this money so it will come in months,” in his address titled ‘New Russia, Economics and Politics.’ According to the ambassador, Russia is also willing and ready to support Guyana in addressing  counter narcotics trafficking, as it had agreed to earlier in the year. In February, the two countries, through the Federal Service of the Russian Federation for Narcotics Control and the Ministry of Home Affairs, inked a deal to combat narcotics trafficking. “We were already asked about some specific requests. We provided some specific proposals and we are waiting on answers from your Minister of Home Affairs,” Smirnov told the gathering.

The agreement states that Russia will assist in upgrading Guyana’s law enforcement agency through training and technological support. The two countries also agreed to exchange information on suspects in cross-border illicit drug trafficking, the structures, individuals, types of business, systems of management and contacts of transnational criminal groups involved in trafficking illegal drugs and their precursors, and the forms and methods of criminal activities linked to illicit drugs.  Smirnoff also gave a brief analysis of a broad range of Russian related issues from politics to future development plans.