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Guyana: U.S. Attorney Gral Eric Holder offered resident security advisors to Caribbean countries.

Eric Holder - U.S. Attorney General with President Obama

The US Government is willing to make resident security advisors available to Caribbean countries but will Guyana be interested?

Stabroek News was unable to get a comment from Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee on the proposal. In a speech at the Washington event last month where US Attorney General Eric Holder made the offer, Rohee had said he welcomed cooperation between the two regions to improve the ability of relevant agencies to respect human rights while executing their duties. Rohee did not specifically address Holder’s offer.

Some of the key factors responsible for deficiencies in the criminal justice system are outdated models, historical circumstances and a lack of human and material capacities, Rohee had said.

He had further noted that there is a need for training and advanced technology to overcome this inefficiency and ineffectiveness.

This collaboration will provide many advantages for the different judiciaries that will be sharing “best practices” with each other, Rohee had stated.

But one security expert, whom Stabroek News spoke to, felt the US could better serve Caribbean countries by providing training and equipment in the area of security instead of resident advisors.

The expert questioned the value of having advisors who at the end of their tenure would leave a vacuum behind in many cases.

Stabroek News had solicited a comment from the expert on Holder’s statement that America is ready to provide federal experts as resident advisors to work with Caribbean agencies, as part of a partnership to improve law enforcement.

Holder made the offer while addressing security ministers from the Caribbean at a Washington meeting which the US Embassy here had said was a result of talks with President Barack Obama at the Summit of the Americas last year in Trinidad and Tobago.

“…While we are committed to helping you address the pressing needs and challenges, we are eager to focus on long-term solutions, now,” Holder said while delivering the main address at the recently concluded Caribbean-United States Security Cooperation Dialogue.

Alliance for Change leader Raphael Trotman is also not of the view that resident experts are the answer to transnational crimes and he suggested that the option of “visiting experts” might be the road to take.

Zeroing on Guyana, the expert said that America’s offer, coming on the heels of the collapse of the $1 billion UK-Funded security sector reform plan is certainly not a partnership that would sit well with Guyana.

“Coming in the wake of the British Security Sector Reform Plan collapse it [the proposal] is not going to work,” the security expert said.

Late last year the Brits had pulled the plug on the security plan as according to them a proposal by the Government of Guyana (GoG) moved away from comprehensive reforms originally requested. The UK had said that the proposal was a “fundamentally different” programme focused on police modernisation instead of wider reforms.

However, the government had said that it was forced to produce its own proposal since the British design, threatened the sovereignty of the country and included management features that seriously compromised Guyana’s ownership of the process. “When our new design re-established ownership that was more consistent with our notions of sovereignty, the plug was pulled,” Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr Roger Luncheon had said.

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