Tony Vieira's Comments
18 October 2017

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What the US Report Really Says
(Aired 18 March 2006)

     On Sunday March 12th 2006 there appeared a full page advertisement in the newspapers by the PPP informing the public that all of us in the media had been lying about what the US' reports on the narcotics trade and Human rights situation in Guyana really said, since some of us mischief makers in the media were distorting the facts and misrepresenting what the US state Department said, thereby vilifying our poor, honest and diligent government.

    So I find it necessary as one of those who stand accused of misrepresenting the facts, to clarify the situation for the public, you decide what in fact the US State Department is telling us. These things are warnings Ladies and Gentlemen, make no mistake about it, the PPP are behaving as if they have never heard of Manuel Noriega and if they have not, I suggest that they all find out who Noriega was and what happened to him. 

    I am not going to deal with the human rights part of the advertisement since I did not comment on it so someone else will probably tell us about the misrepresentations in that part of the ad, so let me start with the 10 bulleted points on narcotics which the PPP's full page newspaper, addressed.

  Bullet, or more properly labelled pill, number one of the ten, tells us that the US state department report says this  "the government of Guyana [GOG] does not facilitate the production, processing or shipment of narcotic and Psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, and does not discourage the investigation or prosecution of such acts" now it is true that the report does say that the Government is not directly dealing with these drugs but nowhere does it say that there are no known links between the Government and anyone who does either; in fact, the report seems to incriminate the government which has sold lands in the interior to known and wanted drug dealers, which the state department sees as facilitating the clandestine nature of such illegal operations.

   Pill two tells us that the state department report says this "the DEA works closely with Guyana's Government and law enforcement agencies to develop initiatives that will significantly enhance their counter narcotics activities" this is true but the report also says that the Guyana counter narcotics efforts suffer from a lack of adequate law enforcement resources, poor inter-agency coordination and endemic corruption i.e. the inter agency structure which comprise CANU, the Police Force and the Guyana Defence Force Coast Guard are complete failures. The report tells us that these counter narcotics entities do not meet, they do not share intelligence and do not function in a manner that can curb the drug trade, in fact in 2005 only a total of 43 kilograms of coke was seized from an estimated traffic of 50,000 Kilos. This government is completely in charge of all three of these agencies which are failing to curb drug trafficking in Guyana. They complain that they do not have the 3.3 million US dollars necessary to curb the drug trade, I estimate along with some pretty knowledgeable economists and accountants, that of the 103 billion budget estimated to be spent this year, 33 percent will be stolen or spent in a manner which will not benefit the nation, so if we stop all corruption and incompetence and take that 33 billion dollars or 165 million US dollars we would make things work a lot better in this country.

  Pill three tells us that Guyana has "bilateral agreements to cooperate on drug trafficking issues with neighbours and with the United Kingdom" yes it does say so but the paragraph before says this, and I quote, "the Guyana Government is a party to the inter-American convention against corruption [ACAC] but has yet to fully implement its provisions, such as seizure of property obtained through corruption. News Media [in Guyana] routinely report on instances of corruption reaching to high levels of Government that go un-investigated and unpunished. The Former Minister of Home Affairs, who has been implicated with an extra judicial killing squad and who had improperly issued firearm licenses to known criminals, resigned in 2005. Guyana is not a party to the UN convention Against Corruption" end quote. Now here we have it again commission and omission signing things which we have no intention of enforcing and not signing the anti corruption UN convention, people in a very high places want the corruption in this country to continue. It is as simple as that, you see ladies and gentlemen, it is not what you sign, it is the spirit with which you sign it, if you sign simply to appease the international community with no intention of enforcing what you are signatories to, then you are not only dishonest but deceitful. The Hermiston accord, the St Lucia statement etc. none of the promises have been kept, but the PPP signed them to stop the PNC supporters from marching and rioting without any intention of implementing anything.  

   Pill four of the PPP's Advertisement says this "Guyana is also a member of the organisation of American states' inter-American drug abuse control commission OAS/CICAD." End quote. Yes we are, we are also a party to the 1966 UN drug convention, the 1961 UN single convention on narcotic drugs, the 1972 protocol and the 1971 UN convention on narcotic substances, we also signed a bilateral agreement with the US on Counter Narcotics Cooperation in 2001 but we have not yet taken the necessary internal steps to bring the agreement into force! What is the point of signing all of these treaties and conventions in a country that exports 25 tons of cocaine but only seized a total of 43 kilos last year, it is a farce, a joke.   

   Pill number 5 tells us that quote "US officials continue to work closely with the FIU in its fledgling efforts to curb money laundering. The US will continue to encourage participation in bilateral and multilateral initiatives, as well as implementation of current international conventions and agreements" end quote, the entire State Department report  speaks about the numerous agreements we have signed on to; but it not once does it say that we are implimenting these agreements to the satisfaction of anyone, including the US. Ladies and gentlemen we are not serious about enforcing the law in this country the government by its own actions are contributing to the breakdown of the rule of law in Guyana, the State Departments report keeps saying that we have a weak and non-functional legal system, well, lets see why, in 2002 the national budget was $68 billion, of this $68 billion the allocation to run the supreme court was $479 million, and the allocation for the Ministry of Youth and Sport was $552 million, in this year's 2006, 103 billion dollar budget Jagdeo has allocated only 619 million to the Supreme Court and 2 billion to the Ministry of Youth and Sport so comparing 2002 to now, the budget increased by 51.5 % ; the allocation to the Ministry of Youth and Sports increased by 262 percent; but, and I want you to listen carefully, the increase to the supreme court from 2002 to now was only 12 percent. The Supreme Court which everyone now says is non functional, even Mr. Jagdeo said so recently, is being systematically starved of funds to function properly, it is deliberate starvation to render it impotent and it stinks to high heaven. Exactly the same thing has happened to the Auditor General's office, they put so much Pressure on Auditor General Goolsarran including starving him for funds that he resigned in disgust, I am waiting to see what this new Auditor General's report will be like, it is one year late already but lets see its contents.

   Pill six tells us that quote "the government of Guyana takes legal and law enforcement measures to prevent and punish public corruption," end quote, no they do not! since this same report tells us that they have not passed any anti corruption laws, they have not placed one drug lord, one money launderer, one corrupt Government Official before the courts and have only seized a minute fraction of the drugs passing through the system a total of 43 kilos out of an estimated 50,000 kilos. At this point I decided that I have had enough PPP pills and gave up in disgust. But I have covered the claims made by all 10 pills in this commentary if you read the advertisement in the newspaper properly, you will see that.