President David Granger has stated that in tackling the mounting crime rate in Guyana, focus should first be placed on dismantling the local drug network, which he believes is the driving force of criminal activities.
Speaking on the weekly televised programme ‘The Public Interest’, the Head of State called drug trafficking the “mother of all crimes”, pointing out that most criminal activities stem from the narco trade.
According to the President, as long as narco trafficking is prevalent, crimes such as gun running, money laundering and execution murders will continue to exist.
“…as long as drugs keep coming into this country, it will be very difficult to control crime. Narco trafficking is the mother of all crimes… The huge amount of money that is generated in narco trafficking can be used to order executions, recruit rogues who could carry out crimes (foot soldiers), they can get young people to sell their drugs and they can bribe law enforcement officers,” he stated.
Granger mentioned the role narco trafficking has been playing, particularly between 2000 and 2015, in contributing to the country’s crime wave which has been on a consistent high during that period.
He continued explaining that while there is no single answer to curbing the illicit drug trade, emphasis must be placed on the root of drug networks and that is what his administration is working on.
The President noted that Government has recognised that narco trafficking is a transnational crime, and that it has the responsibility to ensure that Guyana’s land space and borders are more secure and free from the illicit trade.
He mentioned the recent discovery of an illegal aircraft in Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo) and noted that local law enforcement is yet to establish a connection to the narco trafficking network. However, he stated that while this incident shows how easy it is to illegally get into the country, the discovery of the aircraft shows that local law enforcement is stepping up their ante.
Furthermore, the Head of State sought to respond to criticisms that the coalition regime is yet to dismantle any local drug network, reminding that the country’s narcotics situation has been built up over the last 60 years and cannot be easily infiltrated.
Nevertheless, President Granger posited that his administration has been taking steps to tackle the drug trade in Guyana, mentioning the creation of the National Anti-Narcotics Agency (NANA) which is headed by retired Major General Michael Atherly and the establishment of the National Security Committee which examines every week the conduct of the Police Anti-Narcotics Unit, the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) Anti-Narcotics Unit, as well as the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU).