Head of the Guyana Police Force’s Criminal Investigations Department, Wendell Blanhum is optimistic about the ‘Arrest Warrant Treaty’ that regional heads recently agreed to have implemented.
During last week’s Caricom Heads of Government Conference in Guyana, leaders agreed on an ‘Arrest Warrant Treaty’ seeking to address the issue of cross border crimes as it gives each Member State the power to arrest and handover criminals to authorities in the States that the crime was committed.
Speaking with reporters on Wednesday, Blanhum posited that this initiative will greatly enhanced the capability of the Police Force in terms of arresting fugitives who flee to other Caricom countries.
“It’s not only local fugitives, we have persons who were arrested, particularly for drug trafficking offences, who would have been granted bail and fled to other Caricom countries,” he stated, while recalling a recent case.
The Crime Chief explained that an individual slapped with a trafficking in narcotic charge was released on bail in Guyana and fled to his country of origin but was sentenced to three years imprisonment in his absence.
Blanhum noted that the Force applied to the respective country and asked that the man be extradited and the process was so lengthy that in the meantime, the individual committed a murder in his country and has since been convicted.
“So he was convicted on that (murder) charge (in his country) but he is yet to come to Guyana to serve his sentence. So the treaty is a welcomed initiative that will greatly enhanced our law enforcement capability,” he remarked.
On the other hand, Police Commissioner Seelall Persaud explained that this treaty will extend the arms of the Guyana Police Force since it will relax the lengthy extradition process so that countries can promptly prosecute perpetrators.
“The way I understand it, all the countries that signed on can pass that information to their colleagues and counterparts in the other countries. They will then make the arrest and we will take the fugitive at the border or somewhere,” he stated.
Chairman of the Caricom Conference, Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, has stated that the Arrest Warrant Treaty is a crucial aspect of tackling the issue of regional security as it caters for the sharing intelligence and joint training of personnel, which will enhance the collaboration and cooperation among law enforcement entities.
He disclosed at the closing media conference on July 6, that during the two-day meeting, the Regional Heads were brought up to date with major issues in relation to security through the Caribbean region and agreed on ways to deepen and strengthen cooperation in this area. One such agreement is the ‘Arrest Warrant Treaty’.