Ramjattan plans to eliminate drug trafficking “big guns” by “reducing profit margins”

Government will be pumping more funds into the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) with the expectation that there will be more interdictions and successful prosecutions being made by that agency.

Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan

This is according to Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan, who made this disclosure to the media at a ceremony to commission the spanking new $42 million building constructed for CANU recently.
“(We expect) more and more successful prosecutions of especially those at the very upper level (who are) involved in this trade. That is where we want the prosecutions to come from…
We have to realise that it is important that our monies be spent on personnel and infrastructure and all the other things to get the big gunners targeted and prosecuted successfully,” Ramjattan explained.
He further explained that the thrust should be to have the kingpins arrested and charged for their drug-related crimes. He said that while there have been prosecutions against drug mules, more needs to be done to nab the persons who recruit them.
“The little guy on the street there, I am very concerned about him going to spend a year, or three years, in jail for a spliff. We have a legislation or a bill in Parliament to deal with that. But the big gunners…those are the ones we are after. What it also helps with — when they are prosecuted successfully and so on, and you knock down their little empires — is that you drive the profit motive out of the trade. This drug-(trafficking) trade has as its primary motivation profit,” the Public Security Minister posited.
Ramjattan has noted that it is necessary that more resources be put into the goal of minimising and eventually eliminating the profit motivation related to narco-trafficking in Guyana.
“And if we can do the necessary things to cut the profit out of the trade: catching them, destroying the cultivation field, eradicating where they are planting the marijuana – all those kind of things will then break (the trade) down,” he stated.
A United States (US) State Department report had earlier this year declared that while Guyana has a comprehensive drug demand reduction strategy, the use of drugs like marijuana, and even cocaine, is still a growing problem.
This information is contained in the 2019 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, which contains a section on Guyana’s profile.
Notwithstanding the trafficking, the report notes, actual consumption of these drugs is a growing problem. According to the report, marijuana is the most commonly used drug.
The document has also noted reported seizures of synthetic drugs like Methylene-Dioxyamphetamine (MDMA), most commonly known as “ecstasy”, and detailed Government’s response to the scourge.
“The Government of Guyana’s National Drug Abuse Control Unit trains public health officers, teachers, social workers, and civil society groups as part of the Government’s supply reduction strategy,” the report states.
It went on to outline that, “The Guyanese Government has a drug enforcement presence at its international airports, post offices, and to a lesser extent at seaports and land-border entry points. Control agencies reported several interdiction efforts and drug-related seizures and convictions during the first nine months of 2018.”
Further, the report detailed that, during the first nine months of 2018, authorities here seized 164.9 kilograms (kg) of cocaine and 889kg of cannabis. It also stated that local authorities had initiated 358 prosecutions and convicted 24 individuals for drug trafficking.