Guyana Resource Center
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Drugs could be planted in luggage while travelling out of Guyana

-- Security situation may deteriorate in run-up to elections

The US Embassy has released an advisory which warns travellers out of Guyana to take every precaution when using air travel to the US , as there have been incidences of persons being set up by having drugs planted in their suitcases.

“Travellers to the United States have found narcotics planted in their luggage, both in bags registered under their names and in items they were carrying for others,” the advisory noted. “Travellers should not carry any item they did not purchase and pack themselves, and should take care that no additional bags are registered in their names.”

The advisory, which was recently released, urges US citizens to take prudent personal security measures to deal with the unexpected while in Guyana, as demonstrations, assaults, road blockages, vandalism, looting and confrontations with law enforcement authorities, which occurred following the 2001 elections, may increase in the run-up to the 2006 elections.

The advisory stated that these events have continued on a sporadic and unpredictable basis since the 2001 elections and, although protests in the past have not been directed at US citizens, visitors should nevertheless remain alert.

“When protests occur, avoid areas where crowds have congregated, take commonsense precautions, monitor news broadcasts closely, and maintain a low profile,” the recently advisory stated.

Serious crime, including murder, home invasions, kidnappings and carjackings, continues to be a major problem, the advisory stated.

It rated the occurrence of murder in Guyana as three times higher than the murder rate in the US .

Four American citizens were murdered in Guyana in 2005.

Robberies and thefts occur frequently in Georgetown and New Amsterdam .

The advisory warned that US citizens should avoid stopping in or travelling through the village of Buxton , which lies along the road between Georgetown and New Amsterdam .

The public golf course at Lusignan next to Buxton is also off limits to US Embassy staff. Travellers are advised to use caution travelling to and from the Cheddi Jagan International Airport .

The advisory said pick-pocketing, purse-snatching, assaults and thefts occur in all areas of Georgetown .

The areas adjacent to the seawall and the National Park in Georgetown , although frequented by joggers, have been the scenes of violent crimes ranging from pick-pocketing to armed assaults, including rape. The risk increases significantly after dusk.

Travellers should exercise extra care in visiting these areas.

Pickpockets and thieves also frequent Stabroek and Bourda, the two major markets, and great care should be taken to safeguard personal property.

The advisory said kidnapping for ransom, with random targeting of persons who are viewed as wealthy targets of opportunity, is also a threat.

In April 2003, an American was the victim of a kidnapping and held for a short time until a ransom was paid. The victim appeared to have been randomly selected.

According to the advisory, the response of local law-enforcement authorities to the increase in violent crime has been largely ineffectual; the police are cooperative, but lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents.

Touching on medical facilities available in Guyana , the advisory said medical care is available for minor medical conditions. Emergency care and hospitalisation for major medical illnesses or surgery is limited, due to a lack of appropriately trained specialists, below standard in-hospital care, and poor sanitation, the advisory stated.

It added that ambulance service is substandard and may not routinely be available for emergencies.

According to the advisory, a recent Guyanese report on security and safety at Guyana 's resorts stated that, out of the nine major resorts, only two had a written plan in the case of emergencies.

All of the major resorts had deficiencies in safety, including the lack of lifeguards who were easily identifiable, or the complete lack of lifeguards.

Many of the major resorts lacked adequately stocked first aid supplies.

The advisory declared that the rate of traffic accident fatalities in Guyana is 70% higher than in the US .

It noted that the Traffic Department of the Guyana Police Force is responsible for road safety, but is ill-trained and ill-equipped.

Driving in Guyana is described by the advisory as hazardous because of very poor road surfaces; lack of working traffic lights; farm animals sleeping or wandering on the roads; and poor driving habits, including speeding, reckless driving, tailgating, quick stops without signalling, failure to dim headlights and weaving in and out of traffic.

Mini-buses ply various routes both within and between cities on no fixed schedule.

The advisory noted that minibus drivers have come under severe criticism by the government, press and private citizens for speeding, aggressive and reckless driving, overloading of vehicles, poor vehicle maintenance and repair, and offensive remarks directed at passengers.

Minibuses have been involved in a number of fatal accidents.

Kaieteur News
Anonymous Anonymous said...
I would like to commend the editor of this website for choosing that beautiful picture of our majestic Kaieteur Falls that so brilliantly introduces us to the page. However it saddened me as I scrolled down and was greeted by this thorough publication of "our" country's economical, medical, judicial and local security. A publication which degrades all of the above, nevertheless it's all true. So, mister editor thanks for brightening up a few moments of my life with that beautiful picture, yet crumbling the rest of my night with these harsh realities.