National Drug Strategy Master Plan to be released SOON – Rohee
June 17, 2014 | By KNews | Filed Under News
General Secretary and Home Affairs Minister, Clement Rohee, announced yesterday, that the National Drug Strategy Master Plan will be completed and released soon.
Rohee was at the time criticising comments by the leader of A Partnership for National Unity, Brig. Retired David Granger.
Granger had reportedly said, “Narco Trafficking is the engine of growth that is driving the country’s economy”.
Rohee said that among other things, Granger’s comments are aimed at discouraging “local and foreign investments and to put the country in a bad light.”
He said that Government adopts the legal, strategic, organizational and budgetary frameworks necessary to respond to drug-related problems, while national drugs legislation programmes and plans provide a framework for coordinated action.
“These elements are crafted to make our national drug control policies work in the overall context provided by the international control system built on three related United Nations Conventions that are designed to counter drug trafficking.”
Rohee quoted the findings by the US State Department of International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR).
“As a matter of policy, the Government of Guyana does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotics or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.”
He said that while narco trafficking is an international problem from a national perspective on development; such a problem is yet to be “quantified in an objective and scientific way”.
“We cannot continue to harp on this matter based on esoterically notions or anecdotal propositions, because that is what has been making the rounds and if we look at the efforts of the law enforcement agencies at the airport and even at homes where drugs are alleged to be stashed, I think they have been doing their level best,” said Rohee.
However, it was brought to the General Secretary’s attention that the same report outlined that Guyana is a major transshipment point for drugs and it was asked if that finding was anecdotal, but Rohee responded by saying no and that such an “issue cannot be cherry picked and has to be seen holistically.”
He added, “We have never ever said that Guyana is not a transit country for drugs… The state department report would say that but soon our National Drug Strategy Master Plan is going to be completed and released and that will tell a true picture in respect to this matter.”
According to Rohee, “Right now we are putting the finishing touches to it at the level of the task force at the Ministry of Home Affairs. From there, once it is cleared it goes to the Cabinet for its consideration and after that once Cabinet approves it a date is set for its public disclosure.”
Rohee said that the head of CANU (Customs Anti Narcotics Unit) Mr. James Singh has left for a very important meeting in Italy, a follow up to the one that he, Rohee, and others attended in Moscow “these meetings are held every year and this year on behalf of CANU James has gone off to that meeting. All of these activities are helping us combat a global problem on the National Level.”
The PPP General Secretary said that drug traffickers “do not respect any borders wherever they see an opportunity to perpetuate their criminal activities they will do so. So it is for the authorities in the respective jurisdictions to put in place measures to prevent that from happening.”
One of those measures Rohee flagged is the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Bill, which he deems as a “very important one because drug trafficking is linked to money laundering, drug running and many other international criminal activities.
That is why it is important for us also to strengthen as much as possible, the surveillance of our borders and to cooperate with our neighbours with whom we all have counter narcotic agreements and cooperation programmes.”