By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Opposition Leader David Granger says the recent revelations which surfaced on Tuesday, February 11, creating a link between local narcotic traffickers and major international drug lords is more than a dangerous development.
Granger made the comment moments after meeting with Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Brigadier Mark Phillips in the presence of Members of Parliament Winston Felix and Joseph Harmon to discuss the issue on Wednesday, February 12.
“We ask for this meeting with the Chief of Staff in light of the grave reports about linkages between Guyanese narco traffickers with the Italian mafia, we felt that it is a situation that requires immediate and forceful reaction by the government” Granger told reporters.
He said the Opposition is willing and ready to lend whatever support it can to help strengthen the technical arm of the GDF, particularly aviation, coast guard and land assets to interdict narcotics and guns coming into Guyana.
He told reporters that the Chief has indicated his intention to have discussions with his Officer and has already taken the guide from the Discipline Services Commission, which calls for the strengthening of the Force’s technical arms.
The Opposition Leader said the Army’s sea and aviation assets are largely insufficient to go after traffickersand protect Guyana’s borders.
Granger believes too that the absence of a National Drug Strategy master Plan is largely responsible for these types of occurrences.
“There is no valid national drug strategy master plan, it expired in 2009 and the administration appears to be in no hurry to implement a new plan” he said, adding that “there is no justification for the absence of such a plan for five years.”
Guyana was named among other ports used by an international alliance between the New York Mafia and a powerful crime syndicate in Italy to smuggle drugs in international media reports on Tuesday, February 11.
Granger recalled that during the period 2000 and 2008 well known traffickers had brought sophisticated equipment into Guyana which led to the death of many Guyanese.
He also recalled the airstrip that was built in the interior unknowing to authorities for which no one has been held culpable. He believes that there is a linkage between international drug lords and local traffickers and that large amount of drugs are being smuggled in and out of Guyana.
Meanwhile, Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee told reporters earlier in the day that local law enforcement agencies have intensified work to determine the extent to which foreign drug lords are connected to Guyana.
He said he was awaiting a report on the matter and is hopeful that it will provide the Administration with information that will help to dismantle connections between foreign drug lords and Guyana.
Joseph Harmon has since rubbished these utterances by the Minister. He said firstly there is in fact a linkage, adding that the investigation has been ongoing for more than two years and the Minister must have known the details of investigation “unless he and his colleagues are subject of the investigation.”
On Tuesday (February 11), news surfaced that more than 20 gangsters were busted in New York for drug trafficking and other offenses.
The New York Mafia reportedly conspired with the Italian syndicate to traffic cocaine and heroin stashed in shipments of pineapples, frozen fish and other food.
The shipments traveled through ports in Guyana, where Mexican drug cartel members facilitated deliveries, prosecutors said.