wikileaks Guyana cables – international control stratgy report part 1

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08GEORGETOWN685 2008-12-03 19:10 2011-08-26 00:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Georgetown

DE RUEHGE #0685/01 3381910
P 031910Z DEC 08 ZDK




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: STATE 100970

¶1. (U) Post presents its 2009 International Narcotics Control
Strategy Report, Part I, Drugs and Chemical Control


¶I. Summary

Guyana is a transit point for cocaine destined for North America,
Europe, and the Caribbean, but not, it is thought, in quantities
sufficient to impact the U.S. market. In 2008, domestic seizures of
cocaine fell more than 50% from 2007, due principally to the lack of
any major seizures. In the penultimate year of its National Drug
Strategy Master Plan (NDSMP) for 2005-2009, the Government of Guyana
(GOG) has achieved few of the plan’s original goals. Minimal
cooperation among law enforcement bodies, weak border controls, and
limited resources for law enforcement have allowed drug traffickers
to move shipments via river, air, and land without meaningful

However, a major personnel transition within the Customs
Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) offers some promise of improved
coordination and interdiction efforts. In April, Guyana acceded to
the UN Convention Against Corruption; in June, it acceded to the
Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters.
Guyana is already a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. In
October, the GOG re-arrested and re-initiated extradition
proceedings against U.S. citizen Barry Dataram, an accused drug
trafficker under indictment by federal prosecutors in the U.S.

Status of Country

Guyana is a transit country for cocaine, and to a lesser degree
marijuana. Guyana’s vast expanse of unpopulated forest and savannahs
offers ample cover for drug traffickers and smugglers. Government
counternarcotics efforts have been undermined by inadequate
resources for, and poor coordination among, law enforcement
agencies; an overburdened and inefficient judiciary; and a
colonial-era legal system badly in need of modernization. Murders,
kidnappings, and other violent crimes commonly believed to be linked
with narcotics trafficking are regularly reported in the Guyanese
media. Guyana produces high-grade cannabis; it is not known to
produce, trade, or transit precursor chemicals on a large scale.

Country Actions Against Drugs in 2008

Policy Initiatives. The GOG undertook a major overhaul of CANU – its
chief counternarcotics body – by firing nine of its officers in May,
including the Acting Head; the government announced that the
individuals in question had failed lie detector tests. In October,
a new Head was hired, and the replacement of other dismissed
officers is ongoing at year’s end. The new Head has promised
regularization of CANU operations, improved efficiency, and enhanced
collaboration among law enforcement bodies.

The GOG continued implementation of a 5 million USD, multi-year
Security Sector Reform plan funded by the United Kingdom that
commenced in 2007. However, little progress has been made on some of
the plan’s key provisions: a Parliamentary committee to oversee
national security has not been established, and a national security
policy has not yet been developed. Additionally, legislation tabled
in 2007 that would augment the tools currently available to law
enforcement in fighting money laundering, including regulations to
allow for the seizure of assets, has been stalled in Parliament; the
chances for its passage remain unclear.

Law Enforcement Efforts. 2008 saw a significant decrease in the
amount of cocaine seized compared to 2007, due largely to the lack
of any seizures of more than a few kilograms, as well as to the
effects of the personnel turmoil within CANU. In 2008, Guyanese law
enforcement agencies seized 48 kilograms (kgs) of cocaine, compared
to 167 kgs in 2007. However, eradication of domestically grown
marijuana increased sharply, with 34,000 kgs identified and
destroyed, compared to 15,280 kgs in 2007. Criminal charges were
filed against 473 individuals for activities related to the
trafficking or distribution of illicit drugs.

In October, police re-arrested and re-initiated extradition
proceedings against Barry Dataram, a U.S. citizen under indictment
by federal prosecutors in the U.S., after he had been released on
bail in January by the local courts while undergoing the extradition
process. Dataram had failed to check in twice per week with the
police as ordered by the court at the time of his release from
custody, which led to his re-arrest; Dataram is appealing his
possible extradition to the U.S.

GEORGETOWN 00000685 002 OF 003

Guyana’s counternarcotics activities are encumbered by the
peculiarities of a British colonial-era legal system that has not
been updated to reflect the needs of modern-day law enforcement.
There are no laws that support plea bargaining, wiretapping, or the
use of DNA evidence. Nor are there laws against racketeering or
conspiracy. Even when more contemporary crime fighting tools are
available to one law enforcement body, they are not necessarily
available to others. At Guyana’s international airport, for example,
the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) operates surveillance cameras to
help thwart tax fraud. But the cameras are not well-placed to aid
counternarcotics operations, video footage is not shared with
narcotics authorities and it is not clear that it would be
admissible in drug-related court proceedings. In all cases, law
enforcement agencies are hamstrung by meager personnel budgets.
There are no routine patrols of the numerous land entry points on
the 1,800 miles of border with Venezuela, Brazil, and Suriname.

The GOG has not identified or confronted major drug traffickers and
their organizations. While the Guyana Police Force (GPF) Narcotics
Branch and CANU arrested numerous drug couriers at Guyana’s
international airport en route to the Caribbean, North America, and
Europe, the arrests were limited to individuals with small amounts
of marijuana, crack cocaine or powder cocaine, usually on charges of
possession for the purpose of trafficking.

Corruption. There is no evidence that the GOG or senior GOG
officials encourage or facilitate the illicit production,
processing, shipment or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic
drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds
from illegal drug transactions. News media routinely report on
instances of corruption reaching to high levels of government that
are not investigated and thus go unpunished, but no conclusive
evidence is available to back up these claims. USG analysts believe
drug trafficking organizations in Guyana continue to elude law
enforcement agencies through bribes and coercion, but substantiating
information is anecdotal at best. Guyana is party to the
Inter-American Convention Against Corruption (IACAC), but has yet to
fully implement its provisions, such as seizure of property obtained
through corruption. In April, Guyana acceded to the UN Convention
against Corruption.

Agreements and Treaties. In June, Guyana acceded to the
Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters.
Guyana is party to the 1961 UN Single Convention, as amended by the
1972 Protocol, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances,
and the 1988 UN Drug Convention. Guyana also is a party to the UN
Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocol on
trafficking in persons and the Inter American Convention against
Corruption. The 1931 Extradition Treaty between the United States
and the United Kingdom is applicable to the U.S. and Guyana, but
there is no bilateral mutual legal assistance treaty between the
U.S. and Guyana. Guyana has bilateral agreements to cooperate on
drug trafficking issues with its neighbors and with the United
Kingdom. Guyana is also a member of the Organization of American
States’ Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (OAS/CICAD).

Cultivation and Production. A very high-grade form of cannabis is
grown in Guyana, primarily in the intermediate savannahs, and its
cultivation is reportedly increasing. Most cannabis is consumed
locally, although some is also exported, largely to other Caribbean

Drug Flow/Transit. There are no reliable estimates regarding the
amount of cocaine or cannabis that transits Guyana. According to USG
law enforcement authorities, Guyanese narcotics traffickers
regularly move shipments of cocaine through the country. Some
cannabis cultivated in Guyana is also smuggled out of the country,
although in more modest quantities. Drugs flow easily through
Guyana’s uncontrolled borders and coastline. Light aircraft land at
numerous isolated airstrips or make airdrops where operatives on the
ground retrieve the drugs. Smugglers use small boats and freighters
to enter Guyana’s many remote but navigable rivers. Smugglers also
take direct routes, such as driving or boating across the borders
with Brazil, Suriname, and Venezuela.

Inside the country, narcotics are transported to Georgetown by road,
water, or air and then sent on to the Caribbean, North America, or
Europe via commercial air carriers or cargo ships. Authorities have
arrested drug mules attempting to smuggle small amounts of cocaine
on virtually every northbound route out of the international
airport; suitcases not checked by any boarding passenger have also
been intercepted by counternarcotics officials just prior to

Demand Reduction (Domestic Programs). Marijuana is sold and consumed
openly in Guyana, despite frequent arrests for possessing small
amounts of cannabis. Sources within the GOG and a local NGO note

GEORGETOWN 00000685 003 OF 003

that consumption of all psychotropic substances in Guyana is
increasing, with a particularly dramatic rise in the use of Ecstasy
(MDMA) and marijuana; media reports have also emerged indicating the
use of sniffing agents such as gasoline and glue among students.
Guyana’s ability to deal with drug abusers is hampered by the modest
financial resources to support rehabilitation programs. Guyana only
has two facilities that treat substance abuse-the Salvation Army and
the Phoenix Recovery Center. There are no programs to deal with
substance abuse in the prisons.

U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Policy Initiatives. U.S. policy focuses on cooperating with Guyana’s
law enforcement agencies, promoting good governance, and
facilitating demand reduction programs. In 2007, the USG continued
to encourage Guyanese participation in bilateral and multilateral
counternarcotics initiatives, and funded a substance abuse treatment
program for women (the two previously existing programs in Guyana
only funded treatment for men), as well as gender-specific training
for drug counselors. The U.S. Agency for International Development
(USAID) is funding projects to improve governance in Guyana, which
includes parliamentary and judicial reform.

Bilateral Cooperation. The DEA, from its Trinidad office, works with
Guyana’s government and law enforcement agencies to provide training
and develop initiatives that will enhance their counternarcotics
activities. The GOG routinely grants diplomatic credentials to DEA
officers who cover Guyana, and working level collaboration is
generally positive.

The Road Ahead. Neither the GOG nor the various drug enforcement
bodies of the U.S. have dedicated the resources to determine the
quantity of illegal drugs flowing through Guyana. All projections
are speculative based on the few seizures made. In the absence of
both sound data and more robust DEA/INL involvement, the U.S. will
not augment resources for investigation and interdiction in Guyana.
Instead, it will continue to channel any future assistance to
initiatives that demonstrate success in treating substance abusers.
The U.S. will also continue to use its diplomatic tools to encourage
the GOG to organize an effective counternarcotics program,
especially within the context of the British-funded overhaul of the
security sector. The GOG also needs to pass effective legislation to
deal with money laundering, including provisions allowing forfeiture
of seized assets.



One thought on “wikileaks Guyana cables – international control stratgy report part 1

  1. Pingback: wikileaks suriname – suriname press coverage or roger khan arrest week of july 3 « propaganda press!

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