Drug combatting efforts denting drug trade – CANU
The Customs Anti-Narcotic Unit (CANU) is making significant strides in combating illegal narcotics.
According to CANU’s Head, James Singh these efforts have resulted in denting the drug trade both locally and internationally.
Singh made this revelation during the Ministry of Home Affairs’ agency review and 2024 projection held on Thursday at the ministry’s Brickdam office, Georgetown.
During the 2023 period, the unit recorded five international seizures, a testament to the strategic measures being implemented at the various ports of entry countrywide.
These, according to Singh, are making it more difficult for narcotics to be transported.
“What we’re doing here in Guyana is making an impact in the drug trade…The fact that we have seized a lot more drugs destined for overseas, be it marijuana and cocaine in different regions of the country, is an indication that the systems we have in place are working, especially the partnerships that we have with local law enforcement agencies here in Guyana is making a difference,” Singh disclosed.
Furthermore, CANU assisted in overseas operations leading to the confiscation of narcotics that were transported from the Guyanese region.
“This is a demonstration that our role in the narcotics fight, not just here in Guyana but internationally is making a significant impact,” he emphasised.
The CANU head attributed the unit’s success to the support provided by the ministry, and by extension the government as well as partnerships with local and international law enforcement agencies.
President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali’s engagements have also proven fruitful with training opportunities being created for CANU’s ranks.
“I would say that the relationship is a lot stronger than before, not just based on what we’re doing but all the commitment of the Government of Guyana in fighting the narcotics trade,” he further stated.
Meanwhile, Minister Robeson Benn noted that while the unit is functioning remarkably, there is more room for improvement.
“We have to grow and make bigger and larger efforts at CANU. They are also involved in the question of firearm seizures…On the whole, we are pleased with what the unit is doing,” the minister posited.
Permanent Secretary, Andre Ally added that with the success recorded, the ministry sees it fit to invest heavily in the unit. To this end, the sum of $827.4 million is earmarked in budget 2024.
This sum will advance the construction of a new headquarters on Homestretch Avenue as well as acquire additional vehicles, tactical gear, and modern technology to detect narcotics at the various ports of entry.
In 2023, the unit cleared approximately 1363.28 kilograms of narcotics consisting of cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy, and hashish totalling $461.5 million. Cannabis was the most confiscated drug, accounting for 94 per cent of the total narcotics seized for the year, with approximately 73 separate seizures amounting to 1,287.88 kilograms.
There were 18 seizures of cocaine amounting to 75.17 kilograms, three seizures of ecstasy totalling 0.124 kilograms, and One seizure of hashish to the amount of 0.102 kilograms.
The seized cannabis was valued at $386.3 million while the cocaine’s value came up to $475.1 million.