Security is a `most felt' need of communities
--Minister tells Community Policing conference

Guyana Chronicle
August 6, 2001

MINISTER Ronald Gajraj addresses the Sixth Community Policing Conference held yesterday at the Police Officers Mess, Eve Leary. Seated at right are Police Commissioner Lewis and an official of the Community Policing movement.

THE EXISTENCE of Community Policing Groups is to guard against criminal activities and to ensure that there is a satisfactory level of security within the community.

Further, the need for security is one of the fundamental and most felt needs of communities, and by, extension, and the country.

This view was expressed by Minister of Home Affairs Mr. Ronald Gajraj yesterday, when he addressed the opening of the Sixth National Community Policing Conference, at the Police Officers Mess, Eve Leary.

"You cannot see Community Policing in isolation," the Minister noted, adding that there must be the full cooperation of residents if the groups are to be successful.

"While the Community Policing is here to stay, the role of the Police must always be maintained, " he reiterated.

"If communities are to feel secure that their development, the quality of life of their people, and their cultural and established democratic traditions cannot be safeguarded against threats, then they must devise a community security shield as an essential protection," Minister Gajraj reasoned.

Further, he pointed out that the existence of several common threats to the security of the various communities cannot be denied.

"The geography suggests that the security of individual communities and the security of the country as a nation, are ultimately inseparable.

"Thus, the effects of insecurity and community disaster are not confined to the affected community alone, but would obviously impact on the country as a whole," he stated.

According to the Minister, it is not feasible to establish outposts in various parts of the country because of the lack of human and other resources.

"While that is not a reason for us not to pursue such a goal, there are other logistical considerations which we must bear in mind."

"It makes no sense, in my view, to go and establish outposts all about the place and I don't have the ranks and the other resources," Mr Ajar pointed out.

The Home Affairs Minister is of the strong belief that serious consideration should be given to analysing the recommendations made by various research projects, which were conducted to improve the operations of Community Policing Groups.

"we, the locals, must analyse the recommendations which have been made, and seek to implement them with such changes and adaptations necessary to suit our communities, our environment, (and) our country."

"While we accept the guidance that we may have, at the end of the day, the responsibility is ours," he added.

Mr. Gajraj admonished representatives of Community Policing Groups to implement the decisions deliberated upon during the conference.

Police Officers were also presented with awards for their long and dedicated service to Community Policing Groups.

They are: Stephen Jarvis, Deputy Superintendent of 'A' Division; C. Lewis, W/Inspector - 'B' Division; Marilyn Garnett, Inspector - 'C' Division; Mervin Felix, Deputy Superintendent - 'D' division; Frank Stewart, Inspector - 'G' division; and Ovid Glasgow, Assistant Superintendent of Police.

Rural Sergeant Ms Pamela Mendonca, Adviser to Police Commissioner Laurie Lewis, and the first female appointed to this post was honoured, along with other female ranks for long and dedicated service.

They are: Rural Sergeant Ruby Vigilance; Meena Gocharrran, Co-Treasurer of Berbice Division and Meena Seecharran of 'G' division.

Police Commissioner Laurie Lewis also received an award for long service to the Force.

At the honey booth

THE COMELY damsels here may be having a rather serious conversation about the cost and sweetness of the product offered for sale. This was one of the lively scenes last Saturday night when `Guyana Nite' was staged at the Everest Cricket Ground. The location is the honey booth and in the background, Mr Satyadeow Sawh, Minister of Crops, Fisheries and Livestock is enjoying the taste of a `goodie.'