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GUYANA | Pompeo and Ali sign “Bilateral Shiprider Agreement” for air and maritime patrols

Featured President Irfaan Ali and US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo in discussions at the Baridi Benab, State House, Georgetown, Guyana. President Irfaan Ali and US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo in discussions at the Baridi Benab, State House, Georgetown, Guyana.
GEORGETOWN, Guyana, September 18, 2020 – Guyana’s President Mohammed Irfaan Ali says the “Bilateral Shiprider Agreement” signed with the United States,  is designed to have joint patrols of Guyana air and maritime space in increased efforts to fight the narcotics trade.

President Ali told the media shortly after exchanging notes for Monday’s activation  of the Agreement  that the Ship Rider will not be used by the US to conduct covert operations against Venezuela through Guyana’s territory under the guise of anti-narcotics operations, and the Guyanese people had no need to worry.

Under the agreement, the US Government will have to seek Guyana’s permission for the patrols on sea and in the air. Patrols will not be conducted in Guyana’s waters without that approval from Guyana.

“I am also pleased to announce that Guyana and the US will deepen cooperation in the area of security, with specific attention to maritime security and joint patrols, to interdict narcotics trafficking. This will also allow us to improve our technical and human capabilities in monitoring Guyana’s Exclusive Economic Zone. This augurs well for stronger collaboration and broader technical assistance to help combat both domestic and transnational organized criminal networks”, President Ali said.

Questioned whether Guyana would be facing a risk by allowing American military personnel into Guyana’s maritime and air spaces to engage in counternarcotic and interdiction operations, Ali said “No I don’t see that putting us at a risk. As a matter of fact, it helps us in capacity building, it helps us in technology transfer, it helps us with assets to protect our Exclusive Economic Zone against drug traffickers, narco-traffickers.”

The US Secretary of State said the security agreement will ensure a more secured Guyana and Caribbean region.

“Our new security agreement to counter narcotics trafficking that has decimated so many nations around the world will come into force on Monday. American law enforcement can now cooperate against traffickers at sea and this will make the entire region and Guyana even safer”, Secretary Pompeo said.

The US Secretary said Guyana and the US will continue to work in various areas of interest that will benefit both nations.

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Audrey Jardine-Waddell, in brief remarks at the exchange of notes on the Shiprider Agreement, said the rules would require Guyana’s approval.

“Operations will not be carried out in Guyana’s waters unless permission is granted by the Government of Guyana. Similarly, overflight requests for law enforcement activities will be granted once the reasonable notice and communication channels are provided to the appropriate Guyanese authorities” Jardine-Waddel said.

The Permanent Secretary added that Guyana and the US would, under the agreement, establish a “combined law enforcement Shiprider programme” between their law enforcement agencies.

Dr. Ali said the US has given an assurance that  it would actively consider Guyana’s request for radar coverage of Guyana’s Exclusive Economic Zone. “We don’t have the capacity now to cover that Exclusive Economic Zone and we have reached out for support and they are willing to support,” the President said.

Mrs. Jardine-Waddell said the  accord would allow for cooperative operations at sea and to fast-track overflight clearances for law enforcement aircraft  when combating illegal drug trafficking. She said the “improved bilateral procedures” would be based on the principles of international law, respect for the sovereign equality of States and full respect of the principles of freedom of navigation.

Under the Ship-Rider Agreement, Guyana may designate qualified law enforcement officials to act as law enforcement ship-riders. In keeping with Guyanese law, these ship-riders may embark on US law enforcement vessels and authorise the pursuit by the US law enforcement vessels on which  they are embarked, of suspect vessels and aircraft fleeing into or over Guyanese territory and waters.

Several Caribbean countries have in force similar agreements.


  • Countries: Guyana
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