GRA officers benefit from UN workshop on nuclear trafficking
Given the probability of actors to obtain materials with the potential to generate nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, customs officers attached to the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) are being encouraged to be tactical in their scrutiny of movements of such materials in and out of Guyana.
According to the Resolution 1540 of the United Nations (UN) Security Council, “the propagation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and their means of release constitute a threat to international peace and security.”
A workshop held on Thursday, July 21, for customs officers of the GRA, to focus on the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1540, saw the participation of the UN Security Council’s Terrorism Executive, O’Neil Hamilton, who is currently on tour of duty.
“The time has come when we have to realise that the movement of weapons of mass destruction are often shipped through different locations. Nuclear, chemical and biological weapons are constituent parts that are fundamental to the creation of that device. These weapons are made up of different elements, they are not created as a whole entity by themselves overnight,” Hamilton relayed.
The UN Security Council Resolution 1540 of 2004, which Guyana adheres to, outlines that adopting countries must “refrain from supporting by any means, non-State actors from developing, acquiring, manufacturing, possessing, transporting, transferring or using
UN Security Council Terrorism Executive, O’Neil Hamilton
nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and their delivery systems.”
A probable indicator of this movement is the tendency of terrorists and supporters of terrorism to ship dual use materials periodically, through different locations.
The UN Security Council Terrorism Executive made mention of the radioactive isotope Cobalt 60, which is used in cancer treatment centres, but can also be used to make a “dirty bomb.”
In addition to urging customs officers to become accustomed to the new actuality, while at the same time ensuring that the trade regulations that govern the movement of particular products are applied, Hamilton said “looking at that end user dynamic, applying trade intelligence etc, are fundamental in this new era where the movement of commodities is exponentially more fluid than they were years ago.”
Hamilton spoke in the presence of the GRA’s new Deputy Commissioner General, Hema Khan; and Deputy Commissioner of Customs Excise and Trade Operation, Lancelot Wills – both of whom highlighted Guyana’s efforts at ensuring compliance and strengthening existing measures in line with obligations under UN Security Council Resolution 1540.
A seminar was held earlier this year in tandem with an evaluation visit in Guyana.
Under the UN Security Council Resolution 1540, UN member states must disallow support to non-state actors seeking weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery.
States are also required to adopt and enforce effective laws prohibiting activities and impose successful procedures to reduce susceptibility.