Parliament clears way for foreign military to operate in Guyana

Kaieteur News
March 16, 2007

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The National Assembly yesterday passed three Cricket World Cup (CWC) security-related Bills, which had to be ratified before any match could be played here.

The Security Assistance (Caricom Member States) Bill 2007 was successfully passed, but not without a query from the People's National Congress Reform.

The clause that allows the Minister of Home Affairs to decide the expiration date for the Bill caused concern for the Opposition, which noted that it (the Bill) could transcend the Cricket World Cup period.

The Visiting Forces Bill 2007 and the Status of Visiting Police Officers Bill were passed unanimously by all parties, with a Sunset Clause which causes the Bills to expire on June 30.

The National Assembly also collectively approved the decision for ranks of the Guyana Defence Force and Guyana Police Force to travel to host countries and enjoy the same privileges and rights that their foreign counterparts will enjoy here during the World Cup.

The passage of the three Bills will allow Guyana to fulfill its obligations towards the implementation of the regional security plan during CWC, in accordance with decisions made at the recent Caribbean Community (Caricom) Heads of Government conference.

The legislations are a result of Caricom's decision that the stability and well-being of the Caribbean region could best be achieved by mutual cooperation.

Caricom agreed to the establishment of a security assistance mechanism that is charged with execution of the tasks and services required to be performed, in accordance with a special treaty establishing a Regional Security System (RSS).

The main objectives of the security assistance mechanism are to create an efficient and timely response to natural and man-made disasters; enable the expeditious, efficient mobilisation and deployment of regional resources in order to manage and defuse national and regional crises; and to combat serious crimes.