Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Gya: GWB's presidential proclamation cleaning up corruption in the Caribbean

US President George W Bush earlier this year signed a Presidential Proclamation, under the Immigrationand Nationality Act, suspending the entry into the USA as immigrants or non-immigrants certain corrupt public officials, those who corrupt them, and their dependants. According to the US embassy in Georgetown, "Corruption fundamentally threatens public trust and the integrity of basic institutions, therefore undermining both democracy and security. This Proclamation enables the United States to demonstrate that its commitment to combating corruption and preventing the corrupt from evading justice by hiding within our borders is serious. It is also in keeping with other recent changes in US law that recognizes the large role of foreign corruption in hindering international law enforcement efforts."

The US proclamation is intended to be used in the cases of "persons whose corruption is so egregious and so harmful that it has or had serious adverse effects on the international economic activity of US businesses, US foreign assistance goals, the security of the US against transnational crime and terrorism, or the stability of democratic institutions and nations."

The War on Terror declared in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the USA has effectively taken the place of the Cold War as the USA's main national and international security concern. It also prompted changes, embodied in the new Patriot Act, evincing US sensitivity to national security threats from aliens and migrants.

Corrupt government officials from the Caribbean, Latin America and elsewhere have often been involved in narco-trafficking, money-laundering, extra-judicial killing, people-smuggling and other crimes. Countries such as Guyana where these crimes have occurred, could provide a platform to enable terrorists and other illegal aliens to enter the USA. As in the notorious 'Thomas Carroll Affair,' local law enforcement agencies and the criminal justice system have been incapable of punishing persons involved in many offences which the USA is most concerned about. As a result of this change in policy, some prominent Guyanese government officials have recently had their US visas withdrawn or their conditions of issue modified substantially. Members of sports and cultural organisations who commit certain offences can now look forward to having their visas withdrawn, and would-be migrants who are convicted of crimes can expect to be deported from the USA.

By this new approach, America, hopefully, can terminate some of the abuses that Guyana seems willing to tolerate.


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