The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) works to keep Americans safe at home by countering international crime, illegal drugs, and instability abroad. INL helps countries deliver justice and fairness by strengthening their police, courts, and corrections systems. These efforts reduce the amount of crime and illegal drugs reaching U.S. shores.
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 sometimes 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 under-resourced ports, remote airstrips, intricate river networks, porous land borders, and limited security sector capacity. Guyana’s justice and police institutions face challenges due to corruption, limited investment, and limited institutional capacity.
As part of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), INL efforts in Guyana seek to increase law enforcement capabilities, protect borders and ports, and promote the rule of law and build the justice sector.
With INL support, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s Container Control Program (CCP) established a multi-agency Port Control Unit at the John Fernandes Wharf, one of Guyana’s most active ports. Between 2012 and 2017, the Port Control Unit seized more than 885kg of cocaine.
An INL grant to strengthen the criminal justice sector supports training of police, prosecutors, and magistrates to improve the gathering of physical evidence at crime scenes and more effectively apply evidence in investigations and in court. INL has trained more than 500 police personnel, public prosecutors, and magistrates through this initiative.