Crime threat in Guyana “critical” – US report

first_img…says drug trafficking “a serious concern”…Govt agencies, Police are reportedly “paid off” by criminal elementsThe US State Department has assessed the crime threat in the capital of the Guyana as being “critical.”The assessment comes in the latest 2018 OSAC Guyana 2018 Crime and Safety Report, released by the Department on May 15. The report’s authors say Guyana, with a population of just 750,000, has a general crime rate that “is above the US national average.”It said criminal activity continues to be a major issue, with serious crimes, such as murder and armed robbery, being common. The report added that “criminals regularly use weapons, despite a rigorous licensing requirement to own firearms.”Handguns, knives, machetes, or cutlasses tend to be the weapons of choice, the report stated, adding that Police Officers have also been both victims and perpetrators of assaults and shootings.Focusing on travel to Guyana, the US Government warned that hotel room break-ins were reported to the US Embassy by American citizens and warned travellers to use caution when opening their hotel room doors in Georgetown and to safeguard valuables left there.The US State Department is also advising travellers against walking alone outside after dark in the city, even in the immediate vicinity of their hotels, and advised visitors to exchange currency only at legitimate exchanges at hotels or airports.However, travellers are still only directed to “exercise normal precautions” when travelling to Guyana.Drug traffickingThe US, meanwhile, also identified drug trafficking as “a serious concern” and “the biggest challenge to law enforcement in Guyana.” The report stated that the Guyana Police Force, (GPF), has limited resource and manpower to deter or respond to criminal activity.Focusing on the judicial system, the report said the court is strained by limited resources and often influenced by threats/bribes while defendants linked to drug organisation often use attorneys who are effective in getting cases dismissed or postponed and as a result, criminals go free on a regular basis.CorruptionThe OSAC report added that corruption is widely perceived to be commonplace within many Government agencies and Police Officers often are reportedly paid off by criminal elements and are alleged to work with criminals by either assisting or protecting them. (newsamericasnow)last_img read more