Law enforcement authorities in Guyana continue to face some real challenges in terms of addressing the issue of drug trafficking and the associated problems that come with such activity. While there have been some successes in preventing traffickers from committing these illegal acts, much remains to be done if Guyana is to boast about putting a real dent on drug trafficking.
International and regional organizations have been trying for some time now to come up with a strategy that would try to reverse this growing threat, but trade traders are becoming smarter and using other means to “beat the system,” and thereby creating more difficulties for the law. enforcement agencies.
Anti-drug efforts have pushed traders to use new routes through the Caribbean as they try to transport illegal drugs from South America to the United States, Europe and other destinations. It’s no secret that, in the past, a large amount of drugs have transferred in and out of Guyana on cargo and other ships. Cocaine is often hidden in legal goods, and smuggled through commercial maritime vessels, air transport, human couriers, “fast” boats, or various mail methods.
In November 2020, authorities in Guyana were made aware of one of the biggest drug busts in the world only after a report appeared in the Brussel Times linking the drugs to Guyana. Belgian authorities have reportedly intercepted a ship allegedly leaving Guyana in October with 11.5 tonnes of cocaine – which has a street value of about US $ 1B.
The anti-narcotics prosecutors tracked down the transatlantic expedition of the illegal item from Guyana, and seized it upon arrival at the Port of Antwerp, Belgium. The cocaine was disguised as scrap metal, and placed inside a steel container which in turn was packed into a sea container and loaded into a transatlantic ship.
Based on the report, the huge cargo of cocaine left Guyana in October, which prosecutors tracked down following the dismantling of a drug trafficking gang led by a former Belgian anti-narcotics boss, which reveals the existence of tight links between a criminal . gangs and anti-narcotics and law enforcement officials.
In Belgium, three police officers, a port manager, and a lawyer were among some 20 other criminals arrested as part of a campaign targeting the suspected “structured” criminal organization orchestrating large and “regular” drug shipments from South America to Belgium. And in Guyana, four people are already in custody, and a businessman is being sought in connection with the crime.
First, it is difficult to understand how 11.5 tonnes of cocaine made its way out of Guyana on the transport of scrap metal to Belgium without being found. This was done, we know, with direct cooperation with Customs and security officials. Such an operation had required months of planning and preparation for the illegal drugs to arrive all the way to Belgium.
We regularly hear stories of people carrying illegal drugs slipping through our ports here undiscovered. Only when they reach their respective destinations are they discovered with the illegal substance. Although these ‘pushers’ find it easy to bribe their way through this system, it is very difficult to do so in foreign jurisdictions, except in rare cases where there is a huge network of contacts to allow the illegal drugs passed smoothly.
A key report on the global fight against drug trafficking and money laundering, released by the US State Department, indicated that Guyana had a long way to go in fighting the drug fraternity.
The report, titled “International Narcotics Management Strategy Report (INCSR)”, said Guyana is a transit country for cocaine destined for the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, Europe and West Africa. Undoubtedly, traders are attracted by this country’s poorly monitored ports, remote air routes, complex river networks, permeable land borders, and weak security sector capacity.
Drug trafficking and related criminal activities represent one of the most potent threats to democracy and stability; it undermines the rule of law and democratic governance. We therefore urge the authorities to step up their efforts to crack down on drug smuggling and related crime.

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