Guyana hosts regional seminar for National Drug Observatories in the Caribbean

DPI, GUYANA, Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan, charged technical experts to place more emphasis on the development of evidence-based policies to fight against illicit drug use and trafficking.

The charge was made at the opening of a two-day Regional Seminar for National Drug Observatories which was held at the Ramada Princess Hotel, Providence, East Bank Demerara.

Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan [third from right] flanked by facilitators of the regional seminar. Chargé d’ Affaires at the US Embassy in Guyana, Terry Steers-Gonzalez [second from left], Health and Human Coordinator at the CARICOM Secretariat, Beverley Reynolds [third from left], and OAS Country Representative, Jean-Ricot Dormeus [second right].

The seminar is being facilitated in partnership with CARICOM, the European Union and the Organisation of American States (OAS).

“If it is one thing that we would like or I would like to see coming out of this seminar is your emphasis on evidence-based data-driven policies and practices. It is what is going to get us places,” Minister Ramjattan said in feature remarks.

Health and Human Coordinator at the CARICOM (Caribbean Community) Secretariat, Beverley Reynolds, noted that drug observatories help to identify emerging trends and provide decision markers evidence for designing and evaluating appropriate strategies to apply to situations.

“The regional seminar … has brought together practitioners, policymakers and researchers to probe and to critically evaluate the utility of data information networking in each of your countries,” Reynolds explained.

Thirteen (13) Caribbean countries are participating in the seminar. The countries will discuss the recently completed household prevalence drug surveys and formulate a research agenda for the next two years, OAS Country Representative, Jean-Ricot Dormeus explained.

“This seminar will further stimulate the improvement of our toolset. Consequently, national drug observatories will support more effectively out two countries anti-drug policies and programmes.”

Representatives of the Caribbean countries participating in the seminar.

Experts will also discuss the manual standardised indicator for national drug information network in the Caribbean and the accompanying data collection tools, receive updates on the progress of the European Union Cooperation programme with Latin America and the Caribbean on Drug Policies (COPOLAD), early warning systems and problematic drug use scales, among other things.

In Guyana, the Ministry of Public Security is working to develop a functional crime observatory with capacity for spatial statistical analysis and geo-referenced mapping of crime and violence. This is being done under the Citizens Security Strengthening Programme (CSSP).

In the meantime, the National Anti-Narcotics Agency (NANA), is leading local law enforcement agencies in drug-fighting operations. NANA was created following the government’s release of the National Drug Strategy Master Plan 2016-2020.

Guyana, like its Caribbean counterparts, is considered a transhipment point for drugs. Establishing drug observatories in the Caribbean is one way the region hopes to address the scourge of drug trafficking and use.

Chargé d’ Affaires at the US Embassy in Guyana, Terry Steers-Gonsalez, pointed out drug observatories play a crucial role in stemming the tide of drug use and trafficking in the Caribbean.

“Your being here shows true political will and commitment by your governments. It is why my government counts yours as real partners in the fight against illicit drugs and trafficking. Only by working together can we combat this scourge this cancer,” Steers-Gonzalez said.

 

By: Tiffny Rhodius

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