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Guyana making decisive efforts to curb terrorism

Published on Thursday, April 2, 2009Email To Friend    Print Version

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (GINA): Expert on Terrorism Prevention, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Michael De Feo said that Guyana’s excellent method of adopting the international protocols of fighting terrorism is commendable.

He noted that it would be perfectly understandable if Guyana, being a developing country, does not attach a great deal of significance to this problem which at present does not affect the country. However, he stated that in the country’s case it is making a decisive effort to put measures in place such as it Anti-terrorism laws to fight this crime.

Seated at head table are Minister Rohee, Associate Expert, UNODC, Paul Rabbat, Expert on Terrorism Prevention, UNODC, Michael De Feo and Senior Legal Officer, CARICOM Secretariat, David Fraser.
GINA Photo
De Feo and Associate Expert, UNODC, Paul Rabbat are currently in Guyana to attend the National workshop on the formulation of counter terrorism legislation and the implementation of the universal instruments against terrorism and the inter-American Convention against Terrorism.

Minister of Home Affairs, Clement Rohee reiterated government’s commitment to fighting terrorism. He recalled that since 1976 when the Cubana Airline was bombed, resulting in the loss of 73 lives of which 11 were Guyanese, this country has always been firm, uncompromising and unambiguous in its denunciation of terrorism, and when terrorism gained new forms Guyana remained committed.

He said that the recent and rising terrorist activities have resulted in new and enormous emphasis by governments and numerous nations to combat terrorism and Guyana is no exception.

In addressing this threat, the government is committed to designing appropriate anti-terrorist legislations; discouraging operations of sub-national terrorist groups on home soil, scaling-up intelligence gathering and enhancing security through Joint Services operations and the removal of social exclusion and vulnerabilities that lend to the recruitment of individuals for transnational terrorist cells.

Rohee stated that while the government is certain that there are no international terrorist groups operating here, the authorities have taken a number of precautionary measures especially in the area of intelligence gathering. Enhanced surveillance and intelligence gathering are being used to detect, disrupt and detain terrorists, he added.

The Minister also addressed the issue of drug trafficking and trading of small arms. He said that Guyana and the Caribbean are not only an in-transit points for illicit drugs and weapons but are now becoming markets. This contributes significantly to crime and undermines stability.

He reiterated that Guyana is not a producer of small arms nor narcotics such as cocaine.

The Minister announced that Guyana is in the process of developing a Joint Information and Intelligence-sharing System which will enhance sharing of information between government and law enforcement agencies.

Government continues to ensure that reasonable security precautions are in place; steps have been taken to improve airport and border security, introduce machine readable passports to international standards, and placed focus on training and sensitization programmes.

Guyana has passed two main laws to enhance the fight in terrorism, the Money-laundering Prevention Act and the Anti-terrorism Act.

The issue of terrorism was presented in Parliament in September 2002 and an amendment of the Criminal Law Offensive Act was passed on September 26. This act states that anyone who threatens the security or sovereignty of Guyana strikes terror in any section of the population is guilty of terrorism, he said.

The Minister also informed that the enactment of the Anti-money Laundering and Counter-Financing of Terrorism Bill is before the Special Select Committee for review and it is hoped that it will be passed in the National Assembly within the next few months.

Senior Legal Officer, CARICOM Secretariat, David Fraser said that it is significant that the Government of Guyana is demonstrating its commitment to the fight against terrorism and seeking through this workshop to stimulate the enhancement of its compliance of international modules and increase capacity of its relevant agencies and officers.

He added that CARICOM is readying to assist Guyana and other member states in its fight against terrorism.

Some of the participants at the workshop included representatives of the Guyana Defence Force, Civil Aviation Authority and Maritime Administration.
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