What's with all the guns and ammo?

Guyana Chronicle
December 17, 1999

THE reported discovery of large caches of arms and ammunition along the coast since last week must be setting off loud alarm bells in the halls of officialdom and among the society.

What's with all these guns and ammo?

Are these groups illegally shipping in guns and ammunition and for what purpose?

Police yesterday uncovered yet another shipment of arms and ammunition in a container from Miami and word on the street is that these consignments are only now being uncovered, suggesting that the illegal weapons trade has been somewhat established.

We understand that these are not heavy arms used by combatants in wars and we are not aware of any war in this country or in countries nearby.

So are these consignments meant for the criminal gangs that have been plaguing this country for years?

Or are they somehow linked to the well-established cocaine rings that have spread their nefarious tentacles around the hemisphere and in the Caribbean?

Police are still investigating and there are suggestions of links to the cocaine trade.

What is of even more concern is that law enforcement officials in the United States did not detect the smuggling of the guns and ammunition found in the container shipped here from Miami.

If weapons and ammunition can be sneaked past the Miami port authorities, this would appear to be evidence of a gross lack of checking consignments which raises more serious questions for the Guyana authorities, given the volume of goods shipped here from that bustling United States port.

The country's open borders already pose enough headaches for the law enforcement agencies and lax Customs processing and other checks at Miami only compound their problems.

Guyana is too poor and small to cope with the drugs barons and arms dealers based in the U.S. and other countries and the American agencies have to tighten up scrutiny and required checks at their end if this country is to have any chance of successfully battling these rings.

The U.S. and Canada have not yet heeded pleas from Guyana and other Caribbean countries to stop the flow of deportees they seem desperate to offload in these countries.

Those Guyanese and Caribbean nationals caught in North America for offences like illegal migration can be easily absorbed in the land of their birth.

But it's a totally different story when hardened criminals, schooled in their ways in North America, whose only link with these countries is that they were born there, are shipped out of the U.S. and Canada and dumped unceremoniously on their shores.

It's grossly unfair that other countries have to pay to cope with what in effect are the bad products of the U.S. and Canada and they have to address the problems of the deportees in a more principled manner.

Criminals nurtured in these rich countries should not be let loose in Guyana and other countries already strained to the hilt to cope with the burdens and injustices of underdevelopment.

Making it easier for rings to ship guns and ammunition out of the U.S. does not help much either and this slackness must be taken on board with urgency.

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