Guyana’s Home Affairs Ministry has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the European Union’s (EU) Seaport Project to pursue cooperation in the fight against illicit maritime activities.
The signing was done on Friday at the Guyana Defence Force’s (GDF’s) Maritime Base in Kingston, Georgetown.
The MoU between Guyana and the EU is expected to strengthen the capacities of existing and new joint maritime control units (JMCU) and maritime intelligence units (MIU) of the SEACOP network in new areas of knowledge and know-how to fight maritime and riverine illicit traffic, among other things.
During brief remarks, Home Affairs Minister Robeson Benn, who signed on behalf of the Government, said illicit trafficking of goods, particularly in the maritime space, has devastating impacts on social and economic development, as well as the public health of countries.
“Given Guyana’s recent development in the oil and gas sector, the country will likely see a rise in these threats. We must therefore be better equipped to combat and mitigate these threats and the consequences of these threats,” he said.
He said the MoU would reinforce the effectiveness of the SEACOP maritime intelligence and the maritime river control network geographically and technically. He also said it would enhance Guyana’s capability in relation to the transatlantic efforts against the trafficking of narcotics and other illegal goods.
“Signing this memorandum of understanding will reinforce the effectiveness of the SEACOP maritime intelligence and maritime river control network geographically and technically, and particularly enhance Guyana’s capability in relation to the transatlantic efforts against the trafficking in illegal narcotics and other goods.
“It will sustainably enhance and integrate knowledge and expertise on maritime threats and interdiction response emanating from the transatlantic illicit trafficking routes, (bolster) international and regional response, and improve cooperation and information- sharing at national and the transnational regional levels,” Minister Benn said.
EU Ambassador to Guyana, Fernando Pontz Canto, said he is happy with the initiative and the successes it would generate. Program Director Dominique Bucas signed on behalf of the EU.
The agreement would see the training and equipping of relevant law enforcement agencies and their personnel to help combat the trade of illicit drugs across borders, using maritime spaces.