‘PPP government’s silence deafening on Spanish cocaine bust on Guyanese boat’ – Paul Slowe

Ret’d Assistant Police Commissioner Paul Slowe said he is not surprised by “the silence of the Guyana Government on the recent capture of the fishing vessel.” Four Guyanese and two Albanians were taken into custody by Spanish authorities during the last week of September 2023, after 2000 pounds of cocaine were found aboard the Guyanese register vessel.

In an invited comment, the retired Assistant Commissioner said that the “Guyanese authorities would have been notified to confirm that the documents that were in the possession of those captured were accurate, to verify names, and to confirm the registration of the vessel which is the normal mode of operation before the information is put in the public domain.”

Former Assistant Commissioner Slowe said, “The silence by the Guyana government may very well be an avoidance of naming those who were captured or a lack of culpability to the Guyanese public.” The Spanish authorities have confirmed reaching out to the Guyanese authorities via their statement, but the Guyana government is silent on the capture of the cocaine-sailing vessel and naming the four Guyanese captured.

In a statement from the Spanish National Police, the six were arrested aboard the boat, which was sailing without a flag. The operation, according to the statement, was carried out in collaboration with the American agency, the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration), and the Spanish Navy. The Spanish National Police said the investigation is the result of the existing international channels for the fight against drug trafficking, through which information was received from the American agency, which warned of the existence of an international criminal organization that would attempt to carry out the transfer of a large amount of cocaine from one ship to another on the high seas.

The vessel was stopped by the Spanish tax agency in the Atlantic Ocean, 600 miles from Cape Verde. The agents observed that the vessel, named ‘Mathieu’ and registered in the port of Georgetown, was sailing without a flag. Guyana authorities were asked to confirm the registration of this vessel in her country and to authorize its transfer to the nearest Spanish port. During the course of the intervention, the agents found 40 bales of those normally used to transport cocaine hydrochloride on the stern deck. Given the events, the agents detained the six crew members of the fishing boat, two of them of Albanian nationality and the rest of Guyanese nationality, and secured the vessel.

Meanwhile, based on information from the Irish authorities in Ireland, a cargo vessel with a similar name, MV Matthew, with nearly 5,000 pounds of cocaine was busted. This represented the largest shipment of cocaine ever seized by the Irish authorities. According to the authorities, the vessel was registered in Panama. This comes on the heels of the arrest of four Guyanese and two Albanians on a fishing vessel, Matthew, with 2000 lbs of cocaine busted by the Spanish authorities. Information would have been provided by the Spaniards to the Irish, and it is believed that the two vessels are connected. Irish authorities are reporting that the drugs are estimated at some 157 million pounds.