Monday, March 31, 2008

Guyana ratifies convention on mutual assistance in criminal matters

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (GINA): The government of Guyana through the National Assembly has ratified the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters which will serve as a legal basis of shared support in criminal issues between the United States and Guyana.

Minister of Amerindian Affairs Carolyn Rodrigues who put forward the Motion said the growth in trans-border crimes generally confirmed the need for increased international law cooperation.

“Extradition treaties and Convention of this type in general are essential tools in this effort…The negotiation of mutual legal assistance treaties is an important part of the administration’s many efforts to address international crime, as reflected in the International Crime Control Strategy,” Rodrigues said.

The Minister who was speaking at the March 27 sitting of the House said one important measure to address the problem is to enhance the ability of local law enforcement officials to cooperate effectively with overseas counterparts in investigating and prosecuting international criminal cases.

“Similarly, mutual legal assistance treaties are vitally needed to provide witness testimony, records and other evidence in a form admissible in criminal prosecutions. The instrument before you today will be an important tool in Guyana achieving this goal,” Rodrigues asserted.

Guyana signed the Convention on February 28, 2006. To date 22 of the 34 member states of the Organisation of American States (OAS) have ratified the convention that was negotiated at the OAS in the mid-1980s and was adopted and opened for signature by the OAS General Assembly on May 23, 1992.

Meanwhile, the Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and other related Materials was also ratified in the National Assembly.

“The purpose of this convention is to prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms, ammunition, explosives and other related materials, and to promote and facilitate cooperation, exchange of information and experience among states parties in this regard,” Rodrigues explained.

The Guyana government’s effort to address the illicit manufacturing and trafficking of firearms were outlined by the Minister.

“As a government we have not been blind to the changing face of crime and criminality. We have taken specific note of the increased use of guns in the commission of crimes and have acted accordingly. The Firearm Amendment Bill among other things has increased the punishment by including more significant penalties for the purchase, acquisition or possession of firearm or ammunition without necessary licence,” Rodrigues emphasized.

Guyana signed on to the Convention on November 14, 1997 at the Twenty-fourth Special Session of the General Assembly of the OAS which was held in Washington D.C.

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