Commissioners sworn-in to probe entry and subsequent release of private unnamed vessel

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An unnamed private vessel was intercepted, detained and subsequently released after it was found in Guyana’s water between February 11 and 14, 2017. A Commission of Inquiry (CoI) was today (Friday, March 31, 2017) launched to investigate the circumstances under which the vessel was released.

The Commission Chaired by Retired Brigadier, Bruce Bovell will probe the circumstances under which the Customs and Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) received information, including the exact date and time of the receipt of such information, that the vessel entered into Guyana’s waters, and when it was intercepted, detained and searched.

It must also determine the circumstances under which the vessel was released and the role of CANU in the release.

The Commissioners by April 12, 2017, when the report is due, must find out whether there were any narcotics or prohibited substance aboard the vessel, whether adequate information was passed to the President, Ministers of Public Security and State and whether any laws of Guyana was breached during the operation.

Also unknown are the ownership, capacity, capabilities, the identities of all persons who were on board at the time of the operation. Thus, investigations will be done to prove same.

CANU was at the time headed by James Singh who was subsequently sent on leave. It was stipulated that the Commission must interview all persons, examine available documents and consider the view of all stakeholders deemed relevant which may include James.

The commission will also be making recommendations on the changes if any is needed for the reporting, investigation and prosecution of offences committed at sea.

The two Commissioners are Christine Bailey and retired Assistant Commissioner of Police, Winston Cosbert.

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