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PPP urges Canada to stop exporting criminals

The ruling People's Progressive Party (PPP) yesterday called on Canada to halt the exportation of criminals to Georgetown.

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The party's call was made in a statement reacting to Ottawa's decision to grant asylum to a Guyanese family of three last month forced to flee this country after being threatened by a drug lord. 

Georgetown over the years has complained bitterly against the United States and Canada for deporting Guyanese who have committed crimes in those countries. 

Each year scores of Guyanese are returned to this country after serving sentences in the US and Canada for drug-related offences and other crimes. 

About 99% are home grown criminals trained by the security forces under the PPPC government.

The PPP said that it saw the granting of asylum to the Guyanese as a clear contradiction of Canada's policy, noting that Ottawa is one of the countries that has deported drug dealers to Guyana on a regular basis, most of whom have lived a greater part of their lives in that country.

"Guyana had protested this policy of some of the developed countries, including Canada in extraditing drug dealers and other criminals to us," the PPP/C said in its statement. 

It added that the party had mentioned before that while the developed countries have a policy to attract brains to their shores, at the same time they seem to also solve their social problems.

 "It is immoral for Canada to send criminals back to Guyana, which is one of the factors that have caused crimes of this nature to be difficult to curb, while at the same time granting asylum to persons who allegedly are threatened by drug dealers," the PPP/C said.

The main opposition People's National Congress Reform (PNCR) however said that it came as no surprise to most Guyanese that the family had to flee because their lives had been threatened by a drug dealer. 

"This situation clearly underlines the extent to which the drug lords, through their ill-gotten wealth and connection to the PPP/C political elite have undermined important institutions, like the police to the extent that they can no longer offer protection to the Guyanese people," the PNCR declared.

Guyana is seen as a trans-shipment point for drugs going to North America and over the past five years the US State Department has written damning reports about the country's fight against the trade of cocaine and other illegal drugs. While President Bharrat Jagdeo's Government has unveiled a drug master plan to tackle the problem it has failed to implement the measures contained in the document.

The Guyanese family of three was last month granted refugee status in Canada under the Canadian Immigration and Protection Act after arguing that the police here provided no protection when they had been threatened by a drug lord. 

The decision handed down on September 28, 2007 in Toronto, Canada, by AC Knevel, the tribunal judge acting on behalf of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada said they were accepted as refugees under the UN Convention based on their claims. 

The case was heard on September 21. The family was represented by Guyanese immigration barrister and solicitor living and working in Canada, Balwant Persaud

The family fled Guyana after its head, a former wharf manager of a leading shipping company in Georgetown, was asked to turn a blind eye to shipments of mainly rice, concealing narcotics destined for Europe. 

Several shipments of products from Guyana - including rice and timber - have been held abroad after cocaine was found hidden in them. Several shipments have also been found at wharves here.

According to the facts of the case, the former manager, was approached on June 16, 2006 by a person, who offered him US$20,000 for each shipment of cocaine that would leave the wharf, where he was manager and security officer. When the claimant refused, the person making the offer became abusive and threatening.

 Five days later he received a call on his cell phone telling him that he knew too much and should not be alive. The business was later robbed and he was interviewed on television. 

He was told by telephone after the interview that when there was another robbery at the same business he would be the first to die. He reported the offer of money made for him to pass the drugs through the wharf to the owner of the wharf who advised him to make a report to the police. 

The man made a total of three reports and gave up after nothing was done. He added that on making his report to the police the threats began. In handing down his decision Knevel noted that the Guyanese was in a unique position to assist the drug trade in getting drugs in and out of the country.

However, he refused to work with them and was subsequently targeted for elimination.