Efforts must be redoubled to create zone of peace in South America – PM at PROSUR meeting

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Leaders representing the Prosur group pose for a photo during a two-day Mercosur trade bloc summit at the Conmebol Convention Center in Luque, Paraguay on Thursday, July 21, 2022. From left are Ecuador's Foreign Minister Juan Carlos Holguin, Guyana's Prime Minister Mark Anthony Phillips, Paraguay's President Mario Abdo Benitez, Colombia's Vice President Marta Lucia Ramírez, Brazil's Foreign Minister Carlos Alberto Franca and Peru's Ambassador Maria Milagros Castanon (PHOTO: Jorge Saenz - staff, AP)

Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips, recently attended the Presidential PROSUR Summit and called for enhanced and consolidated security cooperation strategies, as well as a redoubling of efforts to ensure that South America remains a zone of peace.

The Prime Minister said that South American countries must be resourced and
supported to protect their institutions and help combat transnational organised crime.

“We can all agree that the security landscape of our region has become ever more
complex and is evolving every day. The region must enhance its efforts to build and
consolidate cooperation arrangements in security. We must therefore redouble our
efforts to ensure that our region is a Zone of Peace.”

PROSUR Summit was held under the theme: “International Cooperation in the Fight
against Transnational Organised Crime to Guarantee Regional Security and Stability” in
Asunción, Paraguay.

CHALLENGES

Speaking on Guyana’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, the Prime Minister said that Guyana’s commitment to combat transnational organised crime is manifested in its
membership of regional and hemispheric organisations, including CARICOM IMPACS,
RSS, INTERPOL and REDTRAC.

“Guyana has taken steps to counter challenges by strengthening and creating the
relevant law enforcement institutions. Not only do we have the institutions, but we have
laws to deal with the various types of crimes.”

He also noted that the country faces many of the same challenges as the rest of the
region, with the exception of Venezuela, adding that the aggression in this regard is not
only a threat to Guyanese but South America as a whole.

INTERNATIONAL SECURITY

Addressing other global security challenges, he stated that his country is concerned
about the impact of the Ukraine crisis, particularly on international peace and security.

“Guyana remains concerned over the economic and social effects resulting from Russia’s aggression against Ukraine that poses a threat to international peace and security with
the potential of creating an environment conducive to the growth of transnational
organised crime and the undermining of the stability of democratic institutions.”

THE WAY FORWARD

According to the senior government official, ensuring the formulation of the most
effective response to financial crimes by sharing challenges and best practices,
exchanging new techniques and ideas, and building partnerships and networks is part of
the approach to crime fighting.

“Guyana welcomes this discussion and supports the proposal by the Government of
Paraguay to establish a course of action in the fight against transnational organised
crime, through the exchange of information among security services and international
cooperation in the matter.”

Prime Minister Phillips said that Guyana also supports the call for the proposal by the
Government of Paraguay to “determine possible courses of action within the framework
of specialised international, hemispheric, and subregional organisations to achieve
greater access to cooperation, studies, and training for security services”.

He reiterated the calls to reaffirm political commitment at the highest level in the fight
against transnational organised crime.

PROSUR’s membership includes Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana,
Paraguay and Peru, with Bolivia and Suriname as observers.