Guyana ratifies information sharing pact with US

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, March 31, 2008 – The Guyana government has approved an agreement that will be the legal basis for shared support in criminal issues between this country and the United States.

Minister of Amerindian Affairs Carolyn Rodrigues said increased international law cooperation like that which will be provided under the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters ratified by the National Assembly, was becoming increasingly necessary with the growth in trans-border crimes.

“Extradition treaties and conventions 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,” she said.

Ms Rodrigues said one important measure to address the problem was 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,” she said, adding that the Convention will be an important tool in Guyana achieving that goal.

The Guyana government signed the document 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.

The Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and other related Materials, which was signed in 1997, was also ratified in the National Assembly.