Guyana reviewing protocol to allow foreign officers in for CWC—Minister Rohee
By Gordon French
Kaieteur News
February 28, 2007

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Guyana may need to take legislative steps to support the regional security plan to give visiting police officers immunity from criminal prosecution as they move through the region for ICC Cricket World Cup (CWC) 2007.

Kaieteur News has learnt through Caribbean Community (CARICOM) sources based in Barbados that several host nations were still to implement the necessary legislation to facilitate the movement of foreign troops through the region under the CARICOM Operations, Planning and Coordinating Staff (COPACS).

However, Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee said that Government was aware of the document, which is in the form of a protocol and said that the enactment of further legislation may not be necessary.

“The other countries have that protocol already – it is not a law that has to be enacted in Parliament. It's a protocol of an arrangement between member states just for CWC like the other pieces of legislation that was limited in nature,” Minister Rohee told reporters at his ministry.

The Visiting Police Forces (ICC Cricket World Cup 2007) Bill, 2007 was yesterday introduced to the Barbados Parliament with the aim to grant the same rights, powers, privileges and immunities allowed members of the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF).

The bill will give visiting police and civilian security experts absorbed into the RBPF during Cricket World Cup 2007 immunity from criminal prosecution.

However, that immunity may be waived by the competent authorities in the police officers' home state, where they may be tried.

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Dr. Frank Anthony when contacted, alluded that Guyana had met all legislative requirements for the games and pointed out that Guyana will not need foreign troops to provide policing, hence there was no need to enact the legislation.

He also said that in relation to foreign officers who will be here as advisors, legislation already exists to govern foreign troops who visit Guyana periodically.

But, Minister Rohee said that Guyana is not leaving anything to chance and already the document is being reviewed by law enforcement officials.

“It has to be put in the system which has happened already and the law enforcement agencies are addressing the content. They will have to say whether they are comfortable with it and I don't see why they shouldn't be because it is a harmonised document that most of the member states have signed on…I don't see any difficulties. The earlier we get it done the better,” Minister Rohee stated.

The International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol), the United States, France, Britain and Canada were among others also helping security for the World Cup, which features 16 teams including Australia, England, New Zealand, Pakistan, India and Zimbabwe.

For its part, the region has trained 400 military and police experts who will follow teams and fans around the venues to ensure public safety. Tourism experts say the tournament could bring in at least 300 000 tourists.

The World Cup will be held in Antigua , Barbados , Grenada , Guyana , Jamaica , St. Lucia , St Kitts, St Vincent and the Grenadines , and Trinidad and Tobago from March 13 to April 28.

On January 31, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds while performing the duties of President assented to four bills which were passed in the National Assembly to allow Guyana full participation with nine other CARICOM countries in a Single Domestic Space for CWC.

The domestic space, which took effect February 1, was created to meet the challenges of CWC.

The Immigration (Amendment) Bill 2007, the Caribbean Community Special Visa Agreement Bill 2007 and the Pre-Clearance (ICC Cricket World Cup West Indies 2007) Bill 2007 and the Customs (Amendment) Bill 2007 were all passed unanimously.

Dominica , Antigua and Barbuda , Barbados , Grenada , Guyana , Jamaica , St. Kitts and Nevis , Saint Lucia , St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago inked agreements last December to establish the single space.

Nationals from Canada , France , Germany , Japan , Ireland , Italy , South Africa , Spain , The Netherlands, United Kingdom , United States , and all CARICOM Nationals except Haiti will be allowed to access the space freely.