Concerns grow as SOCU seizes more jewellery

SOCU Head, Sydney James

Jewellery traders and other members of the local gold business community are growing worried over what is developing into a consistent raiding and seizure of jewellery circulating within the country.

Last Friday, ranks of the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) of the Guyana Police Force (GPF), made yet another jewellery seizure at a local airport and this incident comes on the heels of a similar one last month which has since prompted a multi-million-dollar lawsuit against the government.

SOCU Head, Sydney James
SOCU Head, Sydney James

SOCU Head Sydney James disclosed that officials will be clamping down on money launderers and in fact a number of operations were launched last weekend.

Though SOCU is operating under the Anti-Money Laundering/Countering of Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Act, the business community is becoming more and more apprehensive about the impact these activities will have on their operations.

Particularly, businessmen are very concerned about how the archaic Customs Act comes into effect, according to a report in today’s Guyana Times.

The report said the recent seizures have caused many businessmen to believe that the officials were operating under the Customs Act which prohibits individuals from leaving the country with jewellery worth in excess of Gy$2,000.

These laws, dating back to the 70s, stipulates that persons leaving or arriving in Guyana must make a declaration on a designated form of the items they are carrying on person or in luggage.

Though there is general prohibition against jewellery, there is an exception as it relates to marriage or engagement articles (rings or watches). The Act allows a female to carry out jewellery valued at a maximum of $2000 and males at $1500. Persons under twelve years can also take out jewellery but it must be worth no more than $500.

If persons are desirous of taking out jewellery valued more than the allowable amount, they must be in receipt of a written approval from the Finance Minister.

Persons have expressed that these laws are old and there is an increasing urgency for them to be upgraded, especially in light of the fact that government is moving to enforce the AML/CFT Act.


According to the Guyana Times report, Elegance Jewellery, a prominent jewel trader in Guyana, has indicated that most of its clients are foreign-based and if there continues to be arbitrary seizures at the airports, the entity’s operations will be gravely affected.

“Most of our clients are from overseas who come in Guyana to purchase jewellery and then they would take it out of the country. We are basically surviving on foreign clients,” the representative stated, calling on government to move swiftly to amend the legislation.

Another businessman, speaking on condition of anonymity, explained that some Customs Act overlaps with sections of AML/CFT and therefore these need to be reviewed to avoid confusion.

“You can’t have the AML/CFT Act putting one limit on the amount you can carry around and you enforce that but then you have the Customs Act with a different thing but you don’t enforce. It needs reviewing so everything will be consistent because people will then be hesitant to conduct any kind of trade as it relates to these two Acts,” he explained.

Another popular Georgetown jewellery store noted that the Customs Act is ridiculous and its amendment is long overdue.

“It’s ridiculous that they haven’t changed it as yet. You see, government has not enforced the Act in a long time, simply because it’s outdated and 99 per cent of people aren’t aware of what the law says. Now that this information is coming to light, people will get concerned and it could put a damper on the jewellery trade,” the proprietor commented.

Contacted for a comment on the development, Finance Minister Winston Jordan explained that SOCU is operating under the AML/CFT Act so there really is no need for concern. He posited that the Customs Act, like hundreds of other laws, are outdated and hence not enforced.

Nonetheless, he assured that steps will be taken in due course to make the necessary amendments to archaic laws.

“The law as we find them over time will be adjusted to suit modern times,” he assured, noting that many of them will also need to be synchronised.



  1. This coalition is a curse. Let’s ask an honest question. Since they came into power is there anything positive? Ask I am hearing is people from across the divide is suffering more under them. PPP was bad yes but at least the people was getting something. This coalition in the other hand is just a bloodied curse. Yes I wouldn’t be surprise if they ban potato and flour and justify it. They seems to have justification for everything and everything going wrong. This is not about black or Indian. This is about developing Guyana.

  2. Why didnt your ppp party who was in power for 23 years update the law to protect the ppl they so concerned about?

    Now they want the new party to float the law and claim discrimination.

    Haha. Bunch of retards and idiots.

  3. Now someone has recognised that Guyana has been left in the Middle Ages . Ha ha ha. Neither was the past or present government aware of this. Or maybe? Probably not change because it suited all the high flyers .

  4. Having been in jewelléry business for a while now and being associated with a number of jewllery, i do understand that a few have overstepped their boundary and take out more than they should have legally. However, the regular people who love to wear their gold jewllery and come home to support their local Guyanese jewellers should never have to pay the consequence of not being able to buy and take home their merchandise.
    Seventy percent of the customers of Guyanese jewellers are overseas-base and tourists, and if this so-called law is going to be implemented then what are these people supposed to do? That’s another business gone dead? Are we stepping up or down?

  5. IS this the BIGGEST JOKE or COMEDY I am hearing! You are PROHIBITED from leaving Guyana with Jewellery worth GY$2000? HAHA Can you even BUY a BOTTLE COKE with $2000 Guyana Dollar? – These dunces are @ FULL force to KILL tourism in Guyana! They are looking to FULL their pockets and taxing people similar to the ABC countries….What is funny though, they do ZERO feasibility studies to determine if it make sense….OR maybe MONKEY eat their brain that the dunces running Guyana are implementing LAWS that makes no sense at all. People should be allowed to wear any amount of Jewellery they want! What a stupid thing to do! The LAW DATING back to the 70s haha! No Wonder Guyana is travelling backwards….Ferry service, bell bottom pants….What a set of Minsters we have with great vision of the pasts….NO FUTURE for Guyana…DOOM days are back!

  6. Concerns grow as SOCU seizes more jewellery…
    Jewellery traders and other members of the local gold business community are growing worried over what is developing into a consistent raiding and seizure of jewellery circulating within the country. They create a PNC monster:: Yall just wait a few more weeks..They might say they get tipped off before coming to kick down your door. ABC countries and EU won’t bat an eyelash to whats to come. It designed to have those whom love gold jewelery most run to their countries to develop it since their economies are crumbling again…They need immigrants with money and brains. Come to your countries with the drum beat and corruption dance—then –boom— regime change…yall aint see nothing yet…I would like INews to have a reporter at our airport…see who going and coming with their bling bling and no one at the airport dare not touch them but will go after a certain sector of Guyanese–y’all better get y’all bangles melt now…all ah y’all ‘galihar’ got to go. Y’all getting what i am getting at? Bling bling people will flaunt it no worries but the ‘galihar’ people cant.


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