Crime not peculiar to Guyana; security arrangements in place
- Insanally By Miranda La Rose
Stabroek News
June 11, 2002

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Foreign Affairs Minister, Rudy Insanally, says there is no need for Guyana to look to other CARICOM countries for additional security for the upcoming Heads of Government Summit to be held in Georgetown.

Briefing the media on the state of preparedness for the CARICOM Heads of Govern-ment Summit to be held in Georgetown from July 3 to July 5, Insanally said that when the Council of Foreign Minister met in Barbados recently the question of security did not arise. The problem of crime was not peculiar to Guyana, he added.

The official opening of the conference is scheduled for the National Cultural Centre while substantial discussions will be held at Le Meridien Pegasus where most of the Heads will stay.

Insanally says he does not believe any member country feels that the crime situation in Guyana is much worse than in any other country. The Guyana Government, he said has instituted a menu of measures to deal with the problem and the summit will be held safely and securely.

The ministry, he said has been having frequent consultations with the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Guyana Police Force and each delegation will be provided with security. He noted that some Heads usually travelled with their own security and the local security forces will cooperate with them.

The use of more sophisticated weapons by criminals than the security forces now poses a threat to regional security. The CARICOM Regional Task Force to deal with the issue of crime and security will present its report to the Heads at the summit. This will also cover aspects of terrorism and domestic terrorism.

The draft agenda, formulated by the Community Council, is now to be submitted for consideration to the Heads, Insanally says. While the council made recommendations which were usually accepted, the Heads were masters of their own agenda, he added.

The draft agenda is divided into three areas, the state of the community today, where it is in terms of the establishment of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) and its ancillary institutions such as the Caribbean Court of Justice.

The Heads will be expected to look at the Community in the international arena bearing in mind that very soon the region will face trade negotiations on many fronts. These include the European Union/African Caribbean Pacific partnerships; negotiations within the World Trade Organisation; and preparing for free trade associations within the Americas. Negotiating skills, he said, would be a very challenging requirement for the region noting the limited capacity in this area.

Bearing in mind that CARICOM will be observing 30 years of existence, Insanally said that the Heads will also want to do some introspection on what has been done, what could be done to keep the community alive and what could be done to enhance its capacity to satisfy the aims and aspirations of the Treaty of Chaguaramas which is now being revised. The draft agenda has made provision for introspection.

It also includes the border problems which have been plaguing some of the member countries. Belize, according to reports, is "virtually reaching an accord" with Guatemala. Guyana will be expected to report on its own problems with Venezuela.

But with the state of affairs in the neighbouring country, Insanally said, "we will have to analyse the situation and see what we need to do from now on."

Noting that Brazil has confirmed President Henrique Fernando Cardoso’s attendance, he said that the length of his stay has not yet been confirmed. He has been invited to address the opening session and to take part in the interactive session dealing with relations in the hemisphere and external trade.

That session will involve major regional and international players including Inter-American Development Bank, the Organisation of American States and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group. Also expected at that session are the Commonwealth Secretary-General and the Head of the ACP.

The objective of inviting Cardoso, is to impress on other CARICOM member states that Guyana can turn to open possibilities not only with Brazil to the south but create linkages with the Andean Pact countries, Amazonian countries and Mercosur in the same way Belize has created opportunities for CARICOM with Central America and Mexico. In the past, CARICOM countries looked to the north but now the region was being challenged to look to the south.