Lewis: force undermanned, inadequately outfitted - cops were in America St fray without proper protective gear

Stabroek News
September 25, 1999

The Guyana Police Force (GPF) is in dire need of resources to combat crime, especially given the prevalence of high-powered weapons currently being used by bandits to carry out daring robberies. This was told to reporters by Police Commissioner, Laurie Lewis, on Thursday at a press conference held at the GTV 11 studios just after the failed expedition to capture three robbers in a canefield on the East Bank of Demerara.

The police force needs to be equipped with more automatic weapons, he stated, and the body armour it has is inadequate to outfit all the ranks. He said most of the ranks went into the fray without protective gear against the bandits who robbed the America Street cambio on Wednesday.

Lewis declared that wages for members of the force should be substantially increased. He revealed that six hours of discussion so far were had with the government and from indications, some action will be taken on the issue.

The commissioner stated that the heads of the joint services met Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr Roger Luncheon, on Saturday and the technical committee met over the last few days to review the wages situation.

Lewis said that there were ranks who work 16 to 18-hour days, and that they should be identified so that they could be rewarded in some way. He noted some members of the force have been working for two continuous weeks by night trying to solve crimes then still turn out to assist when incidents such as Wednesday's occur.

More money is needed to boost the intelligence division of the force and this has been discussed with the Home Affairs Minister, Ronald Gajraj, and ways and means are being explored, he stated.

Lewis's list to make the force more effective includes the acquisition of speed boats and engines, armour-plated vehicles, helicopters, planes.

He also pointed out that the GPF is undermanned and the recruitment of about 1,500 more ranks would make it perform its functions more efficiently.

A © page from:
Guyana: Land of Six Peoples