Crime must be tackled frontally - Hoyte

Stabroek News
October 11, 1999

People's National Congress (PNC) leader, Desmond Hoyte says the government must recognise the urgent need to deal frontally and firmly with escalating lawlessness in Guyana.

Addressing the crime and security situation at a press conference on Thursday, Hoyte said it has deteriorated to a stage where armed gunmen attack and terrorise citizens with impunity.

"The bandits rob and murder business people with no apparent concern or respect for the forces of law and order," said Hoyte, contending that business people live in constant fear.

He criticised the government for failing to display an ability to devise a credible strategy to reassure citizens that the forces of law and order are in control of the crime situation. He said instead, the only response has been by the maverick and sadistic elements in the police force who continue to terrorise innocent citizens with savage and mindless attacks.

"These brutal attacks serve to diminish trust in and respect for the police, as well as discourage citizens from co-operating with the police force and undermine the morale of the majority of officers who still strive to exemplify true professionalism," Hoyte stated.

The PNC leader said that the force needs modernising which calls for substantial sums of money but urged that it was a tough decision the government had to take.

He added that the pay of the force leads to many within resorting to irregular means of supplementing their income. Hoyte also said that the general conditions under which the police work needs improving and they need training in techniques of interrogation.

"Today you do not beat confessions out of people," Hoyte said, noting that often the confession statements on which many cases have been built are thrown out and the prosecution case falls apart.

He said that a thorough overhaul will need a substantial sum and will not be an easy task. (Gitanjali Singh)

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