Challenges: Guyana is a transit country for cocaine destined for the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, Europe, and West Africa. Cocaine originating in Colombia is trafficked to Venezuela and onward to Guyana by sea or air. Traffickers also transit land borders with Brazil, Venezuela, and Suriname. Cocaine is often concealed in legitimate commodities and trafficked via commercial maritime vessels, air transport, human couriers, or the postal services. Traffickers are attracted by the country’s poorly monitored ports, remote airstrips, intricate river networks, porous land borders, and weak security sector capacity.
Goals: As part of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), INL efforts in Guyana seek to increase law enforcement capabilities, protect borders and ports, assist the Government of Guyana in combating money laundering, and support prison management and corrections.
In October 2012, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s Container Control Program (CCP) established a multi-agency CCP Port Control Unit at the John Fernandes Wharf, one of Guyana’s most active ports. The Port Control Unit’s Operations began in 2013.
Embassy Georgetown and the Ministry of Finance signed a Terms of Reference (TOR) agreement on anti-money laundering collaboration between the Department of Treasury’s Office of Technical Assistance (OTA) and the Government of Guyana. This TOR is now being extended. A work plan for continued assistance was approved in December 2013. Activities include mentoring Financial Intelligence Unit staff on analysis techniques and utilization of computer software.
U.S. officials have delivered the INL-funded Automated Fingerprint Information System (AFIS) equipment to digitize Guyana’s fingerprint records system and introduce multilateral information sharing within CARICOM and with U.S. agencies. U.S. experts visited Guyana in October 2013 to test connectivity with the planned installation of livescan machines at the port of entry in February 2014. Implementation of the system within the region has already facilitated cross-border law enforcement cooperation and contributed to numerous arrests.