While the Coalition government has not been able to net any of the big fishes in narco-trafficking, the major party in the Coalition – the PNCR – today boasted of an increase in narcotics seizures.
At a press conference Friday at the PNCR’s Sophia, Georgetown headquarters, Minister Winston Felix noted that the National Anti-Narcotics Agency-NANA- was established by the Coalition government to tackle drug-trafficking.
As a result, he said over 800 kg of cocaine, 65,000 kg of cannabis and 1,900 kg of heroin were seized in 2017 and 2018.
Further, he said Guyanese authorities initiated 503 prosecutions and convicted 227 individuals for narcotics trafficking during the same period.
But he said netting the “big fishes” continues to be a work in progress.
“In no country the big fish is caught just like that,” Felix declared. He said it calls for extensive work because of the manner in which big fishes are protected and organized.
“That is a work in progress,” he said, “which the Guyana Police Force and the other associations, the other national groupings, NANA, and the other drug enforcement agencies will address utilizing intelligence gathering, utilizing technology.”
He added: “I am sure that one of these days we will put before the courts someone you would describe as a big fish.”
Minister Felix was questioned about the assets of convicted drug lord Roger Khan, who is due to be returned to Guyana after serving his time in the U.S. prison system.
He said that while under local legislation there are provisions to deal with asset forfeiture, this only caters for convictions in Guyana.
“I am not aware of the legal procedures in place to effect such a seizure since it (was a conviction) outside of the jurisdiction,” he stated.
“I don’t know that we have ever been able to confiscate any property of a Guyanese drug dealer who has been convicted outside of Guyana,” Felix added.
He said that the issue therefore remains “a grey area” until there is specific legislation that allows for authorities locally to seize the assets of Guyanese convicted overseas.