Minister of Foreign Affairs Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett addresses the 43rd Regular General Assembly meeting of the Organisation of American States in Guatemala
“It is now quite clear that a different set of prescriptions are required for those communities and countries, including most of the countries in the CARICOM region, which are falling behind,” Minister Rodrigues-Birkett said.
“To delay is to condemn our societies to continued negative impact on their economic and social development…it is time recognise and to admit frankly that the challenges involved in combating the hydra- headed effects of the drug trade, are goals whose attainment are receding over an ever distant horizon… our policies and strategies must change,” Minister Rodrigues-Birkett emphasised.
“With very few exceptions, such as Guyana, which has managed to double its GDP over the last six years, [doing what?!] the prospects for economic growth and sustainable development for the CARICOM sub-region over the short to medium-term gives cause for pessimism. As a result the possibilities for lifting our people out of poverty, creating employment and providing better social services are diminishing,” she said.
forget the girl from maruca. let’s go back to 2005 and see what head of the presidential secretariat roger luncheon told the us ambassador in strict confidence
05GEORGETOWN1329 2005-12-20 20:59 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Georgetown
C O N F I D E N T I A L GEORGETOWN 001329
SUBJECT: CABINET INSIDER AMBIVALENT ABOUT PROSECUTING DRUG LORDS
Classified By: Political Officer Benjamin Canavan For reason 1.4(d)
¶1. (C) SUMMARY. Ambassador met with Head of Presidential Secretariat Roger Luncheon on December 16 to discuss DEA
SIPDIS plans in Guyana (reported septel). Luncheon’s comments during the meeting about how to fight the drug trade in Guyana, such as his stated preference for sanctioning rather than prosecuting drug traffickers, are cause for some concern. END SUMMARY.
Sanctions, Not Prosecutions, to Fight Drug Trade ——————————————— — ¶2. (C) Ambassador, DCM, and PolOff met with Head of Presidential Secretariat Roger Luncheon on December 16. During the meeting, Ambassador reiterated the need for concerted cooperation among Guyana’s law enforcement agencies to fight drug trafficking, especially since the traffickers often appear to be better coordinated than the authorities. Ambassador acknowledged that Luncheon and President Jagdeo are concerned about the seizures of drugs emanating from Guyana. Luncheon responded in detail with his opinion on how Guyana ought to fight the drug trade.
¶3. (C) Luncheon said that everyone knows who is trafficking drugs and laundering money, but Guyana lacks “the final step in getting quality information that can be used to finish prosecutions successfully”. Ambassador said that the U.S. could help in this area by providing legal assistance and noted that it may be possible to obtain indictments in the U.S. in cases where it can be demonstrated that drug shipments are destined for the U.S. Luncheon said that he is unconvinced about the benefits of legal assistance. Instead, he would prefer to tighten up bank supervision to expose money launderers. Luncheon said that he favors “sanctions other than prosecution” to instill in narco-criminals the fear of losing business rather than fear of prosecution. Luncheon reasoned that this environment would force money launderers to move their ill-gotten gains out of the banks and through other channels with a higher risk of detection. He believes this method of public shaming would be more effective in fighting the drug trade than trying to prosecute drug smuggling cases. Ambassador reminded Luncheon that the U.S. government is working closely with Guyana’s Financial Intelligence Unit to crack down on money laundering.
¶4. (C) COMMENT. Luncheon’s opinion that prosecuting drug traffickers is not a viable policy objective is disturbing given the serious nature of the narco-trafficking problem in Guyana. And while bank supervision does need to be tightened considerably, that is unlikely to have significant effect given that Guyana narco-traffickers are well invested in money-exchange “cambios”, the timber and construction industries, retail shops, and other cash businesses that provide easy mechanisms to launder dirty money. END COMMENT. BULLEN
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