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Country Reports
GUYANA, Landmine Monitor Report 2001
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Guyana signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 4 December 1997, but has not yet ratified. In November 2000, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official said this was “because of uncertainty with our neighbors. If the situation improves, we may be able to ratify but not yet, not unless there is improvement.”[1] On 13 July 2001, the Director General for Foreign Affairs told Landmine Monitor that requests for information on the status of ratification had been forwarded to the Minister of Defense, Dr. Roger Luncheon, who has responsibility for the landmines issue.[2]

On 27 July 2001, Landmine Monitor received a letter from the Permanent Mission of Guyana to the United Nations stating, “After having contacted the authorities in Guyana, I have been advised that the matter is engaging the attention not only of the Government of Guyana, but also the Parliament which gives final approval of the ratification of the treaty. Guyana, although not directly affected by landmines, has always and will continue to support international efforts to put an end to the use of landmines. Guyana has also been in the forefront of the call that the Caribbean should remain free of anti-personnel mines.”[3]

Guyana did not participate in the Second Meeting of States Parties in September 2000 or in the intersessional Standing Committee meetings in December 2000 and May 2001. It did attend the Regional Seminar on Stockpile Destruction in the Americas in November 2000 in Buenos Aires. Also in November, it voted in favor of UN General Assembly Resolution 55/33V, calling for universalization of the Mine Ban Treaty.

Guyana is not known to have ever produced or exported antipersonnel mines. Guyana’s representative at the Buenos Aires stockpile destruction meeting confirmed to Landmine Monitor that the country has a stockpile of antipersonnel mines, but would provide no details.[4] Landmine Monitor estimates the stockpile at some 20,000 antipersonnel mines.

Guyana is not mine-affected, but on 18 December 2000, a series of explosions at Camp Groomes, a Guyana Defense Force army base, levelled the facility and potentially littered unexploded ordnance within a radius of 1.2 kilometres or more from the camp.[5]

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[1] Interview with High Commissioner to Canada, Rajnarine Singh, Buenos Aires, 6 November 2000. In a subsequent telephone interview, Singh also noted that Guyana had other pressing domestic issues, and that other political parties are concerned with border problems with neighboring countries that have landmines. Telephone interview, 26 July 2001.
[2] Telephone interview with Rita Ramlall, Director General, Foreign Affairs Ministry, Georgetown, 13 July 2001.
[3] Letter from Sonia Elliot, Charge d’affaires a.i., Permanent Mission of Guyana to the United Nations, New York, to Rita Armstrong, Landmine Monitor (MAC), 27 July 2001.
[4] Interview with High Commissioner to Canada, Rajnarine Singh, Buenos Aires, 6 November 2000.
[5] “US experts complete risk assessment following Camp Groomes blast,” CANA news agency (Bridgetown), 27 December 2000; Abagail Kippins, “U.S. experts here to probe GDF ammo camp blast,” Guyana Chronicle, 23 December 2000.