In a month’s time, traders from around the world would be chartering several vessels to purchase oil from the Stabroek Block which is operated by ExxonMobil’s subsidiary, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL). But considering Guyana’s struggle to protect itself from being a transit point for narcotics, these new export routes could be exploited by drug smuggling gangs far or near.
In acknowledgment of this possibility, the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) is already being proactive by engaging several sister agencies on the matter. Speaking to the Guyana Standard recently, GRA Commissioner, Godfrey Statia, said that a Maritime Needs Assessment would demonstrate Guyana’s obvious lack of capacity and capabilities to effectively monitor the maritime zones. He said that initially, the responsibility has to be shared with partnering agencies such as the Maritime Administration Department, the Coast Guard, the Guyana Police Force, and the CARICOM Implementing Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS).
Statia noted that IMPACS is the nerve centre of the Region’s new multilateral crime and security management architecture and was specifically designed to administer a collective response to the crime and security priorities of member states.
He noted that GRA has seconded a Customs Officer to that base in anticipation of this requirement, among other things.