Public Security Minister, Khemaj Ramjattan recently noted that the non-fumigation of cocoa plants in Columbia, South America has caused Guyana’s drug trade to grow. This unfortunate development the Minister said, is causing headaches for the administrations in many of the South American nations.
Ramjattan told the National Assembly earlier today, during its 92nd Sitting of the 11th Parliament that the “growing trade” is as a result, of the cessation of the spraying of cocoa plants in Columbia after the legitimate farmers that plant non-cocoa crops, claim that their health is being threatened.
“Farmers complained that the drug being used to kill the cocoa plants are affecting their crops and also their health. Security forces have stopped fumigating as a result, and that has allowed a lot of other cocoa cultivations to go on,” Ramjattan explained to the house.
He added that cocoa farmers are using improvised explosives to repel Columbian soldiers from manually uprooting the plants. Ramjattan said that this state of affairs has allowed the drug trade to expand within the continent.
The Minister told the house that Guyana has sought intervention to have better surveillance out of the satellites to see when planes are going to land in the hinterland.
“We’ve managed to have gotten at least three planes that would have landed (illegally) at the airstrips. This is to show that the international cooperation with (Guyana and) the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency of the US) is working. So when they land, we are seeing,” Ramjattan said.
He noted also, that steps are being made in boosting the local drug fighting capacity. One of the moves taken earlier he said, was the integration of various units.
The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA)’s Law Enforcement Section, the Customs Anti-Narcotic Unit (CANU) and the police Narcotics Division have all been integrated under National Anti-Narcotics Agency (NANA).
The efforts of all three units are doing good work in addressing the growing drug trade, Ramjattan said, while pointing out that assistance is being sought in getting intelligence from other jurisdictions to help combat the drug trade.
“We are also requesting assistance in getting the intelligence from other countries especially the United States of America (USA), Brazil and on occasions, Suriname. We are getting the cooperation to ensure that those suspects coming into the country (or) going into other countries, we can follow them.”