Vice President of Guyana, Bharrat Jagdeo says that he is privy to information which suggest that there might have been “heavy local involvement” in the shipment of a large quantity of drugs that was intercepted by Belgian officials earlier this week.
The Brussels Times, in an article yesterday, reported that counter-narcotics prosecutors had tracked the transatlantic journey of 11.5-tons of cocaine from Guyana, and seized it upon its arrival at the Port of Antwerp. The catch is “the largest overseas drug bust ever, worldwide,” federal prosecutors told Belgian media, estimating the street value of the drug load at €900M (US$ 1.06B).
Jagdeo, during a Press Conference today, expressed doubt that the vessel set sail at the end of October 2020 because it would not have arrived in Belgium at the time given. He surmised that the vessel must have left in August. Nevertheless, he said that counter-narcotics officials will have to go after those involved.
“ [We have to] go back and find all those people who are involved, including – from what I’m told, but I don’t know if it’s factual, because I got his report that the container might have been flagged. Don’t hold me to this, [it] might have been flagged for inspection, and it was never inspected. So, this is what I’m hearing. So, it seems as though there was heavy local involvement, and we intend to get to the bottom of it,” Jagdeo said.
He added that the government has already met with all of the agencies including the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to block out transshipment of drugs through Guyana and building the capability for doing same.
The VP reported that the scanners at the wharf were not “functioning for a long time”, but this has since been rectified following a donation from China of two such devices. He, however, seems convinced that more shipments might have slipped under the radar due to the absence of these scanners.
“So, the scanners were not functioning there. I don’t know how many other shipments went through and were never intercepted, but I’m glad they intercepted [that shipment to Belgium], ” he said.