Friday, July 3, 2009

The failure of the National Drug Strategy Master Plan

The failure of the National Drug Strategy Master Plan

Posted By Stabroek staff On June 30, 2009 @ 5:01 am In Editorial | 2 Comments

President Bharrat Jagdeo marked last Friday, June 26 − which was observed as ‘International Day against Drug Abuse and Drug Trafficking’ − by declaring, “I think we are doing the best we could in terms of combatting 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.”

According to the Guyana Chronicle newspaper, the President then went on to say, “If we had more resources… 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.”

The President made no mention on Friday of the fact that the fourth anniversary of his administration’s launch of the National Drug Strategy Master Plan for 2005-2009 on June 21, 2005 also slipped by last week. In its most recent International Narcotics Control Strategy Report − released only four months ago on February 27 − the US Department of State noted, “In the penultimate year of its National Drug Strategy Master Plan for 2005-2009, the Government of Guyana has achieved few of the Plan’s original goals. Minimal cooperation among law enforcement bodies, weak border controls, and limited resources for law enforcement… allowed drug traffickers to move shipments via river, air, and land without meaningful resistance.” If the US government concluded that the Guyana Government has under-achieved, so have Guyanese citizens.

Why, after four years, has the administration not fully established the key arms, commissions, committees, centres, secretariat, and regional units called for in the Plan? Why has the Plan’s implementation lapsed into a farcical pantomime of promises without performance?

Even if erecting the Plan’s entire, operational infrastructure and governmental superstructure could not be financed, surely the most important elements needed to strengthen and support the work of the Customs and Police anti-narcotics units could have been activated! Even without a large number of ships, aeroplanes and radar, much more could be done to fight narco-trafficking than polygraphing the narcotics unit.

Despite the evidence of failure, Minister of Home Affairs Mr Rohee unabashedly told the National Assembly that the administration was “aggressively working” to ensure that several aspects of the Plan were implemented. He cited the establishment of the lame Inter-Agency Task Force on Narcotics and Illicit Weapons but did not explain why the components prescribed by the Plan were still not in place.

An excellent example of the administration’s real intentions has been its jokey performance on the establishment of a permanent office of the US Drug Enforcement Administration in Guyana. Over the years that this topic has been tossed around, Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr Roger Luncheon announced that the establishment of a DEA office in Guyana would be welcomed suggesting that “certain details” had to be discussed beforehand. Then, former Minister of Home Affairs Ms Gail Teixeira kept up the jape by saying that “talks are ongoing” to establish the DEA office. When Mr Clement Rohee took over the ministry, he could say only that he “could not pronounce definitively” on the matter.

After four years of failure, it is obvious to everyone that the administration has never fully implemented the National Drug Strategy Master Plan because it never had any intention to do so.
2 Comments (Open | Close)

2 Comments To "The failure of the National Drug Strategy Master Plan"

#1 Comment By badlall( DRUG BARONS HAVE A FREE HAND IN GUYANA) On June 30, 2009 @ 9:11 am


#2 Comment By Andy On June 30, 2009 @ 11:01 pm

Not one person suspected of smuggling drugs or money laundering has ever been polygraphed and then sentenced for failing the test. Yet these people are floruishing while the President boasts about firing government employees who fail drug tests.

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