Tackling drug trafficking routes

The issue of drug trafficking is a significant concern for any nation, and Guyana, with its strategic geographic location and porous borders, faces a particularly daunting challenge. For many years, Guyana has grappled with the infiltration of illicit drugs and been used as a transshipment point Tackling drug trafficking routes in Guyana demands a multifaceted approach that combines robust law enforcement efforts, regional cooperation, socioeconomic development, and international partnerships.
Only on Tuesday this publication reported that Director of the Customs Anti-Narcotic Unit (CANU) James Singh is participating in the sixth phase of the SEACOP project which sets out to address the urgent need for intervention in drug trafficking routes from Latin America to Africa.
This conference has encompassed over 80 participants in Portugal. According to the media report, SEACOP project initially targeted Senegal, Ghana, and Cape Verde, but subsequent phases expanded its scope to include the Caribbean and Latin America to counter the origin and transit of illicit activities effectively.
According to an article on INews Guyana: “Over the next three years, the project will focus on supporting the fight against illicit maritime trafficking and associated criminal networks. The project is designed to enhance security, public health, and socio-economic development by mitigating the negative impacts of these illegal activities.”
Effective law enforcement is pivotal in combating drug trafficking and Guyana has bolster its efforts in intelligence gathering, surveillance, and interdiction operations. This includes investing in modern technology for border monitoring, enhancing the capabilities of law enforcement agencies, and ensuring adequate training for personnel. Additionally, collaboration between different agencies such as the police, customs, and coast guard are essential to create a seamless approach to intercepting drug shipments and dismantling trafficking networks.
Given its location in the Caribbean basin and South America, Guyana shares borders with several countries, making regional cooperation indispensable. Strengthening partnerships with neighboring countries and regional organizations is crucial for information sharing, joint operations, and harmonizing legal frameworks. By coordinating efforts, countries can more effectively disrupt transnational drug trafficking routes that traverse multiple jurisdictions.
In 2023, Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit seized approximately 1363.28kg of narcotics, consisting of cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy and hashish that had a total value of $461.5 million.
Cannabis has been the most confiscated drug, accounting for 94 per cent of the total narcotics seized for the year, with approximately 73 separate seizures amounting to 1,287.88 kilograms.
In an interconnected world, international cooperation is indispensable in combating drug trafficking. Guyana should continue to engage with international partners, including the United States, European Union, and international organizations such as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). These partnerships can provide technical assistance, financial support, and capacity-building initiatives that strengthen Guyana’s ability to combat drug trafficking effectively.
Tackling drug trafficking routes in Guyana is a complex and multifaceted endeavor that requires a comprehensive strategy encompassing law enforcement, regional cooperation, socioeconomic development, and international partnerships.
By adopting a holistic approach and addressing both the supply and demand sides of the issue, Guyana can make significant strides towards reducing drug trafficking activities, enhancing security, and fostering sustainable development for its citizens. The commitment to this cause must be unwavering, and all stakeholders—government agencies, civil society, and international partners—must collaborate closely to achieve meaningful and lasting results.