US Pledges 500K in Security Aid to Guyana

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Although the United States government has promised $500,000 to Guyana in security aid, it may not be enough to overcome political resistance towards fighting drug trafficking in the country.

In a May 10 ceremony (see photo), US Ambassador to Guyana, Brent Hardt met with Foreign Minister Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett to sign a “Letter of Agreement” pledging half a million dollars in aid to the South American country under the terms of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI). AP notes that the the amount is five times the aid given to the country last year as part of CBSI.

Minister Rodriges-Birkett said that the funds will be used to bolster the capacity of Guyanese police to reduce drug-related violence and conduct counter-narcotics work, including seizures and drug eradication operations.

InSight Crime Analysis

While the increase in aid is a valuable asset to anti-drug operations in Guyana, it may not be enough. The US State Department’s 2011 International Narcotics Report claims that efforts to crack down on drug trafficking in the country are hindered by “marginal commitment and capacity at all levels of government,” adding that “drug traffickers are able to conduct operations without significant interference from law enforcement agencies.” Expanding the amount of money spent on these operations is a positive step, but it will do nothing to address the lack of political will to tackle the problem.

The lack of government commitment is only part of the problem, however. It is compounded by the fact that several organized criminal structures have established connections within the police force and judicial system, creating a quid pro quo relationship which allows them to operate with relative impunity.

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