In two agreements signed yesterday Guyana and the United States agreed to ramp up their cooperation in the areas of anticorruption, law enforcement and information sharing.
The agreements valued at $172 million were signed by Guyana Foreign Affairs Minister Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett and U.S Ambassador Brent Hardt, and result from the amendment of an agreement that was signed last April.
The United States government is funding the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative, and has already plugged $200 million into the region. However, the initiative also arranges bilateral programs with specific governments. Over the last three years, Guyana has been granted assistance valued at $1.5 million.
The first agreement signed yesterday was a modification of an agreement signed last April under the Caribbean Basin Initiative, and will provide additional funding for cooperation in the areas of law and anticorruption, and law enforcement professionalization support, which would include border and ports, strengthening counter-narcotics control capabilities, money laundering and financial crimes.
The new agreement will also train officers in the area of forensics with the aim of enhancing law enforcement’s ability to collect, analyze and present forensic evidence in criminal investigation and prosecution. Assistance would also be provided in justice reform to enhance the country’s ability to address narcotics trafficking and transnational crime.
Of specific note is that the new agreement caters for a so-called vetted unit, to be used in the fight against narco-trafficking; that unit would only be made up of officers who pass a polygraph test.