GINA, GUYANA, Friday, December 16, 2016
The National Drug Strategy Master Plan was today, launched at the Guyana Police Force Officers’ Training Centre, Camp Road. The plan is aimed at combating illicit drug use and trafficking.
Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan delivering the feature address noted that figures coming out of the drug use in a school survey tell a worrying story. The Drug Strategy Master Plan, the Minister said, renews the war on the use of legal and illicit drugs.
The Master Plan, which was revised, will run until 2020 and according to Minister Ramjattan, “reduce the use of drugs in the community and minimise the harm that they cause to individual users and the community at large.”
The main objectives of the Master plan includes the reduction of demand and supply of illicit drugs, providing treatment options, institutional strengthening and policy coordination to respond to drug use and strengthening international cooperation.
Minister Ramjattan said the plan will undertake research to improve intervention and control, as well as monitoring the drugs threat. This, the Minister noted will see a very comprehensive inter-ministerial directed approach among the Ministries of Social Protection, Education, Public Health and Public Security.
Like the United States which established Homeland Security to deal with acts of terrorism, Minister Ramjattan said the Government of Guyana sees the need for a unified government organisation called National Anti-Narcotic Agency (NANA).
“Under this umbrella of NANA, Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU), the Police Narcotics Unit, the Drug Enforcement Unit under the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the Coast Guard, other narcotics fighting units within other larger institutions will be integrated and organised so that we can have more functionality,” the Minister explained.
Additionally, the Master Plan will also see the establishment of a special court to deal specifically with drug related offences. The court will deal with specified class of offenders and integrate drug treatment services within the criminal justice case process.
Minister Ramjattan stated that the modern strategy or master plan must involve how “our court system deals with those who are convicted,” for minor offences.
Minister Ramjattan is urging everyone to play their role since the war on drugs needs the efforts of not only law enforcement and the government, but also the efforts of activists, journalists and educators.
By: Isaiah Braithwaite