By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Guyana Government has once again rejected the annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report by the US State Department, claiming it is inaccurate and has not reviewed Guyana fairly.
According to Human Services and Social Security Minister Jennifer Webster the Report has attracted little merit on the part of government.
She said the Ministerial Task Force is deeply concerned that the Report contains a number of inaccuracies and misrepresentations with regard to the scope of TIP in Guyana.
“While the Government of Guyana deems it complimentary that the US State Department’s 2014 Report acknowledges the significant efforts made with regards to Trafficking in Persons, it is important to note that the Government of Guyana does not treat trafficking in persons in isolation from other related crimes, as there are several other complementary laws that have been enacted, especially to protect women and children,” the Minister said.
Webster added that that once again, the architects of the Report have not made significant progress in improving the veracity, coherence and validity of their annual assessments.
The Minister went to point to the inaccuracies which the administration has observed and sought to correct it.
Last year the Government had made similar claims and had vowed not to cooperate with the US on this venture, a decision that was reversed.
“There is no excuse for largely ignoring the gains made and measures being implemented by the Government of Guyana in addressing this issue,” Webster added.
She told reporters that the Government remains committed to the fight against trafficking in persons in Guyana and calls upon all stakeholders in particular, and Guyanese as a whole to join in this fight.
In correcting the inaccuracies the Minister said the Ministerial Task Force on Trafficking in Persons has made repeated assessments of the agriculture and forestry sectors which have not unearthed any significant evidence of trafficking in persons.
“The Task Force continues to actively monitor the mining districts, domestic services and shops to ensure compliance in collaboration with the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission, the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, the Environmental Protection Agency among other stakeholders.”
She added that the Government of Guyana has maximum presence in the interior mining communities. “The Guyana Geology and Mines Commission has mining officers in all six mining districts within Guyana and several other government agencies are also represented within these regions/districts. These include Officers from the Ministry of Labour, Human Services & Social Security, Guyana Police Force and Ministry of Health, all of whom collaborate and share information in a joint effort to fight against trafficking in persons.”
According to Webster it has always been a policy of the Government and is being achieved through enhancing the capacity of Law Enforcement to combat TIP; increase capacity in intelligence gathering to facilitate proactive law enforcement; strengthen investigative and surveillance systems for trafficking in persons; and expand existing proactive law enforcement initiatives for combating trafficking in persons.