SEACOP, Minister sign MoU on cooperation against illicit maritime trade
Georgetown, 17 February 2022 – The EU-funded project SEACOP V and the Ministry of Home Affairs of Guyana on Friday signed a Memorandum of Understanding to pursue cooperation in the fight against illicit maritime trade.
Represented by Minister Robeson Benn, and SEACOP Team Leader Dominique Bucas, and in the presence of EU Ambassador Fernando Ponz, the event marked the continuation of a long-standing collaboration between the two parties in the fight against drug trafficking in the region.
“We are proud to be here today to sign SEACOP fifth phase’s MoU with our counterparts of Guyana. This comes after a very successful five-day training course followed by a week of mentoring delivered to police officers, coast guards and the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU),” stated Dominique Bucas.
“It was a very special mentoring session for us as well, as it comes seven years after our very first onsite training in Guyana, which was dedicated to the Maritime Intelligence Unit back in 2015. Since then, Guyana has been a strategic partner to the SEACOP project,” he added.
The two courses aimed to provide Guyana, which constitutes a preferred transit zone for cocaine trafficking by sea, with a robust specialist unit to assist in its continued fight against illicit maritime trafficking.
In parallel of the MoU signing, the SEACOP team conducted a number of high-level meetings with the Minister of National Security, the Head of CANU, the Director of NISA and the EU Ambassador, among others.
SEACOP officially launched its fifth phase of implementation in May 2021, under a consortium led by Expertise France and the International and Ibero-American Foundation for Administration and Public Policies (FIIAPP), with funding from the European Union.
Building on the achievements of the four first phases, SEACOP V aims to continue contributing to the fight against maritime illicit trade and associated criminal networks in the targeted countries of the Caribbean -including Guyana-, Latin America and West Africa. Consistent with human rights, the project seeks to help alleviate illicit trafficking’s negative impact on security, public health and socio-economic development.
Over the last ten years, SEACOP has provided support to a number of institutions fighting transnational organised crime in Guyana, leading to a significant rise in the number of seizures of illicit goods. With the launch of its fifth phase, SEACOP V seeks to expand its scope of action with local partners such as CANU, to develop new partnerships with local and regional actors and to integrate further countries into its network combating illicit flows across the transatlantic axis.
Under the umbrella of the Global Illicit Flows Programme of the European Union, SEACOP V works towards three key objectives, namely: to reinforce the effectiveness of the SEACOP maritime intelligence and maritime/riverine control network geographically and technically; to sustainably integrate knowledge and knowhow on maritime threats and interdictions emanating from the transatlantic illicit trafficking routes into national and regional curricula; and to improve cooperation and information sharing at national, regional and transregional level, including with EU home affairs agencies.