Sunday, June 28, 2009

In the relentless war on drugs.Guyana's done what no other country in the hemisphere has -President Jagdeo

Guyana Chronicle news item, Sunday 28 June 2009 - "In the relentless war on drugs.Guyana's done what no other country in the hemisphere has -President Jagdeo" -

PRESIDENT Bharrat Jagdeo said Friday that Guyana is doing the best it can to combat drug trafficking here, and that no other country this side of the Atlantic has done what we have to preserve the integrity of its the law enforcement agencies.

“I think we are doing the best we could in terms of combating the trade. I keep saying that very few countries in the world …[certainly] none in this hemisphere that I know of, would have polygraphed their narcotics unit twice in six months and gotten rid of the people who failed,” he told reporters during a press conference at his office on Shiv Chanderpaul Drive, the former New Garden Street, here in the city.

He was at the time responding to queries as to whether he was satisfied with the way Guyana was progressing in the fight against the narcotics trade, and pointed to the fact that the last polygraphing exercise was extended to include other key law enforcement agencies.

“We did not keep it just in CANU (Customs and Anti-Narcotics Unit), but we extended it to the police narcotics unit and to the airport. So clearly it shows a strong commitment on the part of the government to ensure that the people who work in these agencies… are clean. That is the best I could do… and provide them with the resources,” he said.

He said the reason Guyana adopted the foregoing measures was so as not to be accused of having a “hidden agenda” or of “covering up,” and to avoid placing corrupt personnel in certain key agencies.

“We have a rigid time-tested process of weeding them out,” he said, adding that had we the resources, we would have been better able to monitor the situation.

“If we had more resources, yes! We may be able to better patrol our waters; if we had more resources, we may be able to have radar coverage over our whole country; and maybe be able to fly and police all of our borders but we cannot do those things. But the little resources we have, we are deploying it as best as we could.”

Voicing his concern that enough is not being done where addiction is concerned, the president drew reference to the fact that even an advanced country as the United Kingdom is having problems in this regard, judging from a report coming out of there saying they have the highest incidence of drug use in the world.

“Over a million people in the UK considered using drugs; that is more than our whole population,” the president said, adding that it was because of the government’s concern about the high incidence of addiction here that it has been lending as much support as it can over the years to the Salvation Army.

“…For the past two or three years, I have been giving grants to the Salvation Army to support their programme because they do more rehabilitation [work],” he said, adding: “…I hope that we can increase [the grant] and work with other non-governmental organisations to ensure that people have a ‘second chance in life’. As you know, anyone can make a mistake in life and start using drugs but you need to provide that (support)…”

In 1987, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly decided to observe June 26 as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, as an expression of its determination to strengthen action and cooperation to achieve the goal of an international society free of drug abuse.

Incidentally, Friday was being observed the world over as ‘International Day Against Drug Abuse and Drug Trafficking’.

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