Pubdate: Wed, 30 Nov 2005
Source: Stabroek News (Guyana)
Copyright: 2005 Stabroek News
Author: Merrill Hyman Sr.


Dear Editor,

I have a fair idea of your source (the expert) on the story 'Copters 
key to drug war - expert' (SN 28.11.05) and consider it somewhat 
troubling that he would identify helicopters as the key asset in the 
fight against drug production and trafficking. Heli-copters are 
primarily an important asset in the interdiction and enforcement 
pro-cess. They allow operatives greater manoeuvrability and 
flexibility in enforcement activity but the most critical component 
in the fight against drugs is actionable intelligence.

Obtaining this intelligence calls for detailed, long-term 
surreptitious activities which seek to target key players through the 
cultivation and management of sources and a meticulous attempt to 
record detailed supporting information and evidence. The methods and 
skills applied here are the result of learned experiences; elements 
that are obviously in limited supply to local law enforcement. If the 
government is truly serious then even this could be fixed with the 
right amount of political will. I am not as confident as your source 
that such a will exists because the process is compromised by forces 
loyal to players in this industry.

I do however agree that the local trade in drug commodities is 
limited and greater effort is placed in the trans-shipment process. 
Air drops of 'supplies' is nothing new and some have had the gall to 
make deliveries (as much as 25 bales) from fixed wing aircraft into 
the Demerara river. Now, while problems exist in turning human 
assets, it is not insurmountable and has to be approached in a much 
smarter fashion.

What has obviously not taken off is the ability of law enforcement to 
'follow the money', both because they are inadequately equipped and 
no support is derived from the government agencies that have the 
wherewithal to access pertinent information on money laundering, etc.

Unlike your source, I am not as confident that, with 2005 almost at 
an end and six months already gone since the strategy was announced, 
there isn't deliberate sloth in implementing the strategy.

Just compare how quickly the Citizen Security Project was accessed 
and approved through the IDB for US$10M and the 'inability' to 
request or even source the US$3.39M needed to implement the National 
Drug Strategy. Out of this Citizen Security project $50M goes to the 
GPF and $24M to the GDF but who knows where the remaining $1.9B is 
slated to go, well... I am quite sure they are not prepared to use 
$600M for implementation of the drug strategy. And a point for 
correction; the DEA was not compromised in the DEA-CANU joint 
operation, it was elements of CANU who were believed suspect and 
hence the requirement to have CANU operatives take lie detector 
tests. Mind you, it was the same time that the former Minister of 
Home Affairs, Mr Gajraj, had been 'bypassed' in the process leading 
up to the said operation.

There is no doubt that key assets (human and material) are not 
available but the two essential ingredients to making this fight a 
valid one, intelligence-based policing and a political will to do 
whatever it takes to legally achieve success, are themselves sorely wanting.

Yours faithfully,

Merrill Hyman Sr.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman