By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Opposition Leader David Granger, in welcoming the announcement of the establishment of a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) office in Guyana cautioned that it will not suddenly bring an end to drug related activities here.
He said while the DEA will cooperate with local drug fighting agencies, the onus is on the government to ensure the eradicating of the illegal activity.
“It is not a miracle worker but a step in the right direction,” Granger said.
He further explained that the DEA, at best, can only collaborate; adding that its international connections and resources will prove to be helpful in tracking major shipments of cocaine and other illicit substances through Guyana.
He said this reality could have been achieved sooner.
“It was this administration that didn’t provide appropriate accommodation, all the sites it identified were deemed to be inadequate,” he added.
It is the Opposition Leader’s belief that the administration was deliberate in selecting sites they knew would be turned down.
He pointed to the continued assistance by the US in fighting the drug trade in Guyana despite the absence of the DEA office; adding that the government never demonstrated the political will to provide units responsible for fighting the trade locally with equipment needed to interdict drug traffickers.
Meanwhile, Former Police Commissioner and Opposition MP, Winston Felix supported Granger’s contention and suggested that the drug tracking situation may not have deteriorated to the level it currently stands had the office been established earlier.
He is optimistic that the DEA will lend a significant mass of assistance to local drug fighting agencies.
“Difficulties which confront drug enforcement agency will be easier handled, they will have the intelligence network required to fight from origin to prosecution.”
He said while it is a good thing that the office will be established, he still bemoans the fact that government failed to create conducive environment resulting in its delay.
Meanwhile, President Donald Ramotar has expressed high hopes with the announcement of the office which will be housed at the United States Embassy, Georgetown.
A United States (US) Drug Enforcement Authority (DEA) country office in Guyana was recently given the congressional go ahead. The announcement was made, on June 26, at a joint press conference between President Donald Ramotar and US Ambassador to Guyana Brent Hardt at the Office of the President. The office, which will be stationed at the US Embassy in Georgetown, was equally welcomed by both the President and the Ambassador Hardt.
The President had noted that the US DEA has also been working very closely with Guyana’s Police Force and Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) from its base out of its office in Trinidad. President Ramotar, from the very beginning of his tenure, expressed the view that narco-trafficking is an international problem that needs international cooperation to successfully combat it.