– Min Benn praise agency’s success in the fight against drug trafficking
The Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit’s (CANU) aggressive approach to combating drug trafficking has proven fruitful with the agency destroying 140.6 kilogrammes (kgs) of seized cocaine and 454.7 kgs of seized marijuana.
This totals around 596 kgs of narcotics that were destroyed and are from cases that have concluded in the Magistrates’ Court.
Home Affairs Minister Robeson Benn and CANU Head James Singh observed the destruction at the former Housing Ministry’s tarmac on Homestretch Avenue in the wee hours of Saturday.
Minister Benn, while engaging with ranks, assured that government will continue to support the agency as they work to prevent Guyana from being used as a transshipment point for drug trafficking.
“Our President, Irfaan Ali has committed with us to bring more resources and more support in respect of this fight but there is so much we can do even at this point in time…. We have to rely on our development partners to step in with this fight and also to work with us in the communities… and the particular persons in our communities who need rehabilitation in respect of drug use but the destruction in the communities has to stop,”he stated.
The home affairs minister commended the leadership of CANU for the valiant efforts in the fight against drug trafficking and implored the unit to continue in this direction.
“I want to thank Mr Singh (James Singh) and his team for the continuing efforts, for the increase in the number of captures, in reductions in respect of cocaine particularly marijuana on the Canje and Berbice Rivers, Region Ten and some other places. This work has to continue,”Minister Benn expressed.
Meanwhile, the CANU head noted that the unit achieved several milestones in the seizure of narcotics in 2o22. He noted that the unit will continue to work in this fight.
“We want to send a strong message that the government is serious about fighting narcotics within Guyana and also Guyana will not be used as a transshipment point for narcotics to other territories.”
Singh, however, noted that it is disturbing that it takes months for a person found with narcotics to be prosecuted.
“While I do not want to criticise the judiciary I guess there’s a backlog but it doesn’t help when you arrest someone today and they’re placed on bail and their cases are being called until four, five months after. It’s been seen as not mocking us but here it is we have seized you with the drugs, we have seized the drugs, we have arrested you, we have put you before the court only for you to be placed on bail. It’s a bit disheartening at times,’ he noted. The street value for the destroyed narcotics varies as they were seized at ports of entry to countries like the United States and the United Kingdom.
In 2022, 3.7 tonnes of marijuana and over 124 kgs of cocaine were seized from various ports of entry and through operations conducted by CANU.