As crime spirals out of controlAs Guyana’s crime rate continues to climb, Government has turned to the international community for help with curbing the crime situation in the country, particularly as it relates to policing its porous borders.To this end, Guyana signed a security pact with 15 other Caribbean countries and the United States of America, targeting specific areas of criminal activities while building on social justice.Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan at an Alliance For Change press conference on Friday said law enforcement in Guyana cannot fight crime alone, hence Government’s decision to join the Caribbean-United States Security Cooperation, an initiative implemented under the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI). According to the Minster, during a recent visit to Washington, DC, discussions were had with the other member states of the organisation pertaining to issues that are currently plaguing Guyana and the Region as a whole, such as the illicit trafficking of weapons and narcotics.This area, he noted, is one of three pillars that the security pact focuses on. Ramjattan pointed out that it has been observed that the Colombians, Venezuelans and others involved in the narcotics trade such as Brazil and other South American countries, are now using Guyana as a conduit.“That is why we have been finding lots of airplanes (in the hinterland) and they are lots of others, we understand, that have flown in and flown out back carrying their stuff to Europe and North America. And now we know, they do drop offs and it’s brought to Georgetown, put in containers and that is how all these containers with rice and so on are being caught with cocaine in other countries,” the Minister stated.Nevertheless, Ramjattan posited that Guyana was commended by the US State Department for efforts undertaken in tackling the drug trade within its borders, especially as it relates to interdictions by the efforts of the Customs Anti Narcotics Unit (CANU) and the Guyana Police Force’s (GPF) Narcotics Unit. He added that one such milestone in this regard is the arrest of convicted drug lord Barry Dataram, who had fled to neighbouring Suriname to avoid serving jail time.On the other hand, the Public Security Minister also revealed that requests were made for assistance in strengthening security at the country’s borders in order to curb gun-smuggling.“I did identify border controls because more and more the evidence is that from Brazil, we are having more small arms coming in. So whilst we have sharpened up in relation to interdictions of guns coming in from North America through our GRA (Guyana Revenue Authority) system and the (commercial) airplanes, we have to also have our eyes in the Brazilian territory which is a very long porous border too,” he outlined.According to Ramjattan, while such surveillance will be expensive, since it would more or less come in the form of an airplane or satellite imagery, a commitment was given to help Guyana in this area.“I don’t know but we told them we would like to have surveillance equipment, if it’s not going to be airplanes then drones that can go a good hundred miles and come back at some command centre probably in Lethem… In these exercises of trying to stop drugs and firearms from entering Guyana, if all of that is what we will require, they have made a commitment that yes there will be assistance in that regard,” the Minister asserted.He went on to highlight that the second pillar of the agreement entails increasing public safety and security through programmes ranging from professionalising the law enforcement institutions and technical assistance in training; and improving the rule of law and supporting the justice sector.Minister Ramjattan noted that under this pillar, a new patrolling initiative will be introduced in the form of ‘bicycle brigades’. This will be specially trained and physically fit Police Officers patrolling the streets of Georgetown on bicycles.“Good, strong looking Guyanese girls and boys on bicycles that are already equipped with their training, doing their jobs… They are going to go to Las Vegas, Nevada, for training as how to do it, what to expect whilst being on a bicycle brigade and so on. We have to start doing things like that… because we need more patrols but it is expensive to have 4×4 vehicles,” he posited.Additional training will be done in the areas of crime scene investigations, testifying and undergoing heavy cross-examination.Meanwhile, the third pillar is the support of justice sector reform, which will see Magistrates and prosecutors undergoing intense training – something which Guyana has already embarked on.Moreover, Ramjattan noted that another aspect of this is the promoting of social justice through crime prevention activities. The Minister stressed that the root causes of crime need to be identified and addressed in order to fight crimes. Against this background, the US has agreed to fund a new programme – the ‘Community, Family and Youth Resilience Programme’ – in Guyana. This will see professionals working with youths, ages 10 to 25, to re-direct them from criminal pathways to productive activities.
COUVA, Trinidad (AP) — Twenty-eight years after the United States ended a four-decade World Cup absence with a stunning victory at Trinidad, the Americans’ chances for the 2018 tournament in Russia ended on this island nation off the coast of Venezuela in even more astonishing fashion.Needing only a tie and confident of victory against the world’s 99th-ranked team, the U.S. was eliminated from World Cup contention Tuesday night with a 2-1 loss to Trinidad and Tobago that ended a run of seven straight American appearances at soccer’s showcase.“We let down an entire nation today,” said defender Omar Gonzalez, whose 17th-minute own goal started the collapse.Gonzalez casually tried to clear Alvin Jones’ cross and sent it looping from 15 yards over the outstretched right arm of Tim Howard. Jones doubled the deal in the 37th minute with a 35-yard strike.Christian Pulisic, the Americas’ rising 19-year-old star, scored in the 47th minute, giving the U.S. hope.Clint Dempsey, at 34 trying to make it to a fourth World Cup, entered at the start of the second half and was denied by goalkeeper Adrian Foncette’s leaping save in the 69th and hit a post from 22 yards in the 77th. Bobby Wood’s header in the 88th was sent wide by Foncette.Even a defeat could have earned a berth, but only if Panama and Honduras both lost. And if the U.S. and only one of those rivals were beaten, the Americans would have finished fourth and advanced to a playoff next month against Australia.Panama trailed 1-0 to Costa Rica at halftime and Honduras was behind 2-1 to Mexico, but both rallied against nations that already had clinched berths. Gabriel Torres scored for Panama in the 52nd minute on a shot that did not appear to cross the goal line, and Honduras went ahead on Guillermo Ochoa’s own goal in the 54th and Romell Quioto’s goal in the 60th.At that point, the 28th-ranked Americans were playoff bound, but Roman Torres scored in the 88th minute to give Panama a 2-1 win, a third-place finish with 13 points and its first World Cup berth. Honduras finished fourth on goal difference and goes to the playoff.The Americans, who would have qualified with 13 points because of a superior goal difference, instead had 12 points and finished fifth in the hexagonal.“It’s a blemish for us,” coach Bruce Arena said. “We should not be staying home for this World Cup and I take the responsibility for that.”American players were not aware of the scores of the other games until after the final whistle.“When I looked over at the bench and everyone was sitting down,” Gonzalez said, “I could just see from the looks on their faces that it wasn’t good.”Back in 1989, Trinidad needed merely a tie to reach its first World Cup, but Paul Caligiuri’s long-range goal in the 30th minute put the U.S. in the tournament for the first time since 1950.That game was played before a crowd of 35,000-plus at National Stadium in the capital of Port-of-Spain. With Trinidad already eliminated, this one drew a few hundred fans at Ato Boldon Stadium, 24 miles to the south.The U.S. entered its final qualifier with a berth uncertain for the first time since 1989. Home losses to Mexico last November and Costa Rica caused the U.S. Soccer Federation to fire Jurgen Klinsmann and bring back Arena, the U.S. coach from 1998-2006. But after a loss to Costa Rica in New Jersey last month, there was little margin for error.Shocked American players slumped on the bench, and center back Matt Besler sat on the field after the final whistle as Panama’s game ended and then Costa Rica’s. Dejected U.S. players filed into their locker rooms with blank looks.“You can go around in circles a million times over again, but the reality is that it was all there for us and we have nobody to blame but ourselves,” U.S. captain Michael Bradley said.Arena, a 66-year-old member of the U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame, agreed with his usual bluntness.“We foolishly brought Trinidad into the game with the own goal,” the coach said. “That was a big goal for Trinidad psychologically. That got them motivated.”Missing the World Cup is a devastating blow to the USSF, which has steadily built the sport in the last quarter-century with the help of sponsors and television partners. It also is a trauma for Fox, which broadcasts the next three World Cups after taking the U.S. rights from ESPN. The USSF hopes to co-host the 2026 tournament with Mexico and Canada, and Morocco is the only other bidder.“Every time you have a setback you have to look at things, re-evaluate and get better,” 38-year-old goalkeeper Tim Howard said. “And as a program we have to get better. This hex proved that. There’s some good teams on the up and up and we’ve got our work cut out for us.”Arena left his lineup unchanged from Friday’s 4-0 rout of Panama in Florida, but the Americans couldn’t generate the needed energy and emotion.“Our center backs were not confident enough with the ball and really often in the first half we were playing eight against 10 because they really need to carry the ball and bring a player to the ball and then move it a little quicker,” he said. “Our forwards were not able to hold the ball. They did a poor job there. We didn’t get Pulisic into the game. We played poorly. The first goal was unfortunate. Those things happen. The second goal was an incredible shot. What can you say?”Gonzalez said Jones’ cross struck his left shin as he tried to prevent it from reaching Shahdon Winchester.“One of the most unlucky goals ever,” Gonzalez said. “It is one that will haunt me forever. … I never thought that I’d see this day. This is the worst day of my career.”USSF President Sunil Gulati said the result felt unreal.“It’s a huge disappointment for everybody: for players, for the staff, for coaches, for the federation,” Gulati said. “It’s not good enough, obviously. In some sense, 2022 starts tomorrow for us.”—RONALD BLUM, AP Sports WriterTweetPinShare0 Shares