‘Significant progress’ made in fight against drug trafficking – Ramlall

Deputy Head of CANU, Lesley Ramlall
Deputy Head of CANU, Lesley Ramlall

Guyana has made significant improvements in the fight against narco-trafficking and narco-trade related crimes. This is according to Deputy Head of the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU), Lesley Ramlall, who on Monday said that for 2019, efforts by the agency as well as the other counter-narcotics agencies in Guyana have been successful in stemming the flow of narcotics.

Speaking at a training session for CANU officers, Ramlall said that, “not only have we seen a reduction in the flow of narcotics but also a great reduction in the amount of persons attempting to smuggle narcotics through our airports especially during the July-August period.

Ramlall said that the decreasing number of Guyanese being arrested at the more popular airports overseas, the arrest of a well-known trafficker and two of his associates in the last quarter of 2018 through extensive collaboration with regional and international partners, and the 2019 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report commending Guyana for the efforts, “are clear indications that our efforts are beginning to pay dividends.”

However, he pointed out that the use of synthetic drugs has become a prevalent issue, and that plans must be put in place to address this problem which not only affects Guyana but many other countries, regionally and internationally.

He explained that in light of the prevalence of synthetic drugs over the past year in Guyana, there is greater need for inter-agency collaboration to ensure that the younger generation does not suffer the ill effects of these illegal substances.

CANU, he added, will continue working to reduce the flow of narcotics through the seizure, prosecution of traffickers and the forfeiture of their assets.  “We will also endeavour to work closer with all stakeholders especially agencies such as the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) to aid in money laundering investigations. We strive to improve the capacity and capabilities of the Unit especially in the areas of information gathering and significantly work towards improving our level of cooperation through intelligence sharing and operational tasking with our local, regional and international counterparts.”

He reiterated that CANU will continue to “take the fight in order to dismantle the activities of narco-trafficking and its related crimes” and focus heavily on eventually ending the profits out of the crime of narco-trafficking.