Against the backdrop of the extradition of an American fugitive to New York, United States Ambassador to Guyana Sarah-Ann Lynch last evening pledged her country’s continued support on the security front.
“We will continue to partner with Guyana on the security front,” Lynch told attendees at a welcome reception, held at her Cummings Lodge, Georgetown residence.
She adverted to the extradition of fugitive Troy Thomas, who is the first person repatriated from this country to the United States in over a decade.
“This past week US and Guyanese security collaboration made history as we worked together on the highly successful extradition of alleged murderer, Troy Thomas, the first extradition to the US in well over a decade. We will continue to partner on the governance front to adhere to the rule of law and to strengthen institutions, both governmental and non-governmental to become more transparent and accountable,” she said. “And, we will continue to partner with the government and all relevant actors on the prosperity front, to help this country create an enabling environment where trade and investment will abound and the country and all of its citizens will thrive,” she added.
Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, in remarks on behalf of the government, pointed out Guyana’s many years of partnering with the US and he said that the APNU+AFC administration plans to continue in the same vein.
The US Embassy here on Wednesday said that Thomas’s extradition reflected over one year of close coordination between the government and the US Embassy.
In 2011, Thomas allegedly committed murder and other crimes in New York and then fled to Guyana. A statement from the embassy noted that in 2018, the US Attorney General and Secretary of State sent an extradition request to the Government of Guyana, which the Embassy served to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Guyana Police Force detained Thomas in 2018, and he had remained in the Lusignan prison since then. Thomas exhausted any further right to appeal under the Guyanese constitution at midnight on Tuesday, the statement said.
“Corruption and criminal activity rob the Government and citizens of Guyana of money that could have been spent on education, health care, and important infrastructure work. Extraditions are an important law enforcement tool in fighting transnational criminal organizations. Today, a fugitive from justice is being extradited to the United States to stand trial, creating a new precedent,” the statement noteed.
“The Government of Guyana’s actions over the past year clearly indicate its dedication to law and order and established norms of international criminal justice – Guyana is moving in the right direction. Establishing a roadmap for future extraditions, bringing a fugitive to justice, making Guyana a safer place for Guyanese citizens – this is the best example of rule of law existing in Guyana,” Lynch was quoted as saying in the statement on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Lynch used the reception to thank outgoing Deputy Chief of Mission Terry Steers-Gonzalez for the “stellar work” done during his three-year posting here and expressed her gratitude for his assistance to her during the first weeks of her mission in this country. Steers-Gonzalez will now be posted to Pakistan.