Gajraj, Police Association working to improve Force
October 14, 2000
RESTORATION of a ward at Georgetown Public Hospital (GPH) for use exclusively by members of the Force is among matters engaging the attention of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Minister Ronald Gajraj said so to a Guyana Police Association delegation whom he met in his Ministry on Brickdam, Wednesday.
It was the first time he was meeting the newly elected Executive, headed by Inspector Deryck Josiah, and Gajraj highlighted matters requiring urgent attention in relation to the welfare of Police ranks.
Alluding to the necessity for improvement in their welfare in sickness and in health, the Minister recalled that, years ago, a special section of GPH was for the benefit of the Police, but noted that the facility no longer exists.
"We are looking at the possibility of having the ward restored for Police ranks," he said.
The Minister said his Ministry, along with the Association, is working in a collaborative effort to address the needs of cops up to the level of Inspector.
Acknowledging that the Association is placing a high premium on improving the conditions under which the members serve, the Minister identified a number of areas for priority attention.
He said, while the Association is eminently concerned with welfare matters, such as housing and emoluments, it should also see, as crucial to heightened performance on the job, the means and modes (conditions) by which the members of the Police Force must discharge their responsibilities.
Gajraj expressed concern over the decrease in Police numbers at this time, compared to the provisions of the 1976 Establishment.
He said, the volume of Police work has risen since then due to considerable developments.
"We have been bringing in an average of 8,000 to 9,000 vehicles per year, for the past three to four years, so that the traffic situation has increased.
"We have opened up the interior...there are different communities being established, housing settlements being established... and a policeman is now very stretched out, "the Minister observed.
Responding to questions from media representatives on the untoward behaviour of some policemen, Gajraj said he agrees there are some in the Force who might not be of a desirable standard.
He, however, expressed the hope that, with time, the Force might be able to improve their standards.
Gajraj said he was not, in any way, making any justification for those policemen who might not be doing as required. However, he, nevertheless, explained that, very often, in the process of recruiting, the Force takes people from varying strata of society.
Even though many persons of a higher educational background may ridicule the policeman who might not have achieved much academically, yet, because he is wearing the uniform, he is expected to be "super human" and respond in a certain way, Gajraj reasoned.
The Minister said he is cognisant of the limitations of the Force, in terms of resources for example.
It is for this reason, that he chose to meet with the Association now to see how some of the problems could be resolved with a view to improving the Police Force, the service it renders, and the benefits derived by the community and the country as a whole.
About those ranks who are more prone to be troublesome, the Minister declared:"We are reaping the benefits now of a certain era in our history when the education system left much to be desired." (SHIRLEY THOMAS)
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