Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan yesterday said he is in receipt of reports that illegal guns from Venezuela are being sold in exchange for food in Guyana.
“Anecdotally, if I may say so, we have heard of situations where some across the border with Venezuela have been selling guns for food! And very cheaply at that. And we are providing the food for them, they provide the gun. That’s a very serious development and one can appreciate that indeed, that can happen. Because those parts of the border have huge difficulties in sometimes getting food,” Ramjattan said.
He made the remarks at workshop aimed at developing policies to stamp out out the illegal arms trade.
The workshop is being conducted from February 12 to 13 at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre, under the European Union’s Export Control Programme for arms.
A key part of this programme is implementing the Arms Trade Treaty of 2013.
“We have a problem west of us in Venezuela, where there are lots of guns and lots of migration out from Venezuela into Guyana, Brazil, Columbia and so. The migration problem is a huge problem globally. But when people are coming across your border and you don’t have the resources to control border entries that exist, you will have people who want to come across with guns,” the Minister noted.
“This system that we have is being stretched and strained. Largely one of the causes, as we know, is Brazil is a manufacturer of weapons. And we have very close contacts with Brazil. It’s to our southern border. And ever so often, Police catch a culprit found with a Brazil-made Taurus (gun). And it is unregistered.”