US vows continued aid against illegal arms trade in Guyana, CARICOM

US vows continued aid against illegal arms trade in Guyana, CARICOM

The US Government’s Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, Ambassador Bonnie D Jenkins, wrapped up her two-day visit to Guyana on Friday, and stated that the Biden administration will continue to work with Guyana to tackle the illegal import and sale of arms and other security challenges.

“In my meetings with the Prime Minister Mark Phillips, Brigadier Khan and (National Security Advisor) Gerry Gouveia, we discussed our commitment to work with Guyana to reducing violence in the Caribbean, and decreasing the illegal trafficking of arms, under the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative”, Jenkins said.

She noted that support through training for the security services, is one way that the US intends to offer support to Guyana and the Caribbean. She said there is a real concern in Guyana about the proliferation of illegal guns.

“What I can say is in all the conversations I’ve had, while here in Guyana, that’s been a topic that we’ve talked about. We recognize the concern that the Government and individuals here have about illegal guns. I can say that, you know, we are working very closely with Guyana to try to address this issue. We are also working closely with CARICOM (Caribbean Community). to try to address the issue. We just recently had an export ban on illegal arms, so we can try to figure out how to address this issue and make sure they don’t get in the hands of those who should not be having those arms. We’re also, as I mentioned, working with CARICOM on the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative as well, to address this issue, so it has come up and certainly the Government, the US government, recognises the concern that many people here in Guyana have with this issue”, she stated.

Jenkins noted that the US, as a partner with the Caribbean, continues to pay close attention to the happenings in the region, especially in the area of security. She noted recent actions by the Russian military in conducting exercises close to the Caribbean.

“We have been aware of them working with Cuba with these kind of naval exercises in the past and they did some of this in 2020 as well, so we are aware of that. We don’t see that as a threat to the US, but we are tracking it and so we are well aware of that”, she noted.

On the build-up of Venezuelan troops near to the Guyana border, the US official reaffirmed the US Government’s support of Guyana in the border controversy and noted that there should be respect for Guyana’s territorial integrity.

The U.S has long described Guyana as a strategic partner in the Western Hemisphere that can assist Washington to curb narco-trafficking and gun-running in the region.

The US recently announced that it will continue its partnership in assisting the Guyana Government in a number of areas, including the commencement of a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) capacity- building training program to bolster Guyana’s counternarcotics capacity.

  • PublishedJune 15, 2024