Majority of illegal guns in Guyana smuggled from US, Brazil – GPF

Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum

Serious crimes in Guyana are becoming more weaponised with the proliferation of guns manufactured in Brazil and brought into Guyana through the community of Lethem. As such, the Guyana Police Force has said, it is working to stem the flow of these guns across the Brazil-Guyana border.
According to Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum, for this year, the Police Force managed to take 68 illegal guns off the streets, and they found that most of those weapons were manufactured in Brazil.
“We have taken out of circulation 68 illegal firearms. Region Four ‘A’ has the highest rate of illegal firearms seized. Revolvers accounted for the highest type of illegal firearms taken out of circulation… followed by shotguns. The main origin of illegal firearms is the United States of America, followed by our neighbour Brazil,” Blanhum has said.
Regarding Brazil, he said the Taurus pistol represents a significant amount of the illegal firearms coming from that country.
“The Taurus weapons are produced in Brazil. Our investigations have so far revealed that Lethem is the main transit point for these weapons, which go largely towards principal destinations in Region Four ‘A’ and other distribution networks across the country.
The issue of illegal firearms has been a longstanding concern, but from all indications, more and more of these weapons are ending up in the hands of criminals.”
In 2014, former Crime Chief Leslie James had revealed that, from 2011 to 2014, the Guyana Police Force had seized illegal weapons that had been made in neighbouring Brazil. He had said that based on Police records, Brazilian-type weapons are the choice of criminals. Brazilians travelling to Guyana illegally for mining purposes bring these weapons with them, but they are usually confiscated by the Police during raids and other operations.
Meanwhile, in 2016, a report that was conducted by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) had stated that with the guns being smuggled through Lethem, there is very little the Lethem Police have been able to do about the situation. According to that international body, “The Police need to be better resourced to deal with crime in the interior, and the unique challenges of law enforcement in border areas.”
The report had also noted that the lack of proper border security allowed for illicit drugs to be trafficked into the country. Moreover, Brazilians enter Guyana, commit crimes in Lethem, and then return to Brazil. (G9)