Guyana Police Force should recognize that the measures employed so far are ineffective
Stabroek News
April 17, 2002

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Dear Editor,

I read Mr. Royston King's rebuttal, on behalf of the GPF, to your fairly accurate summation in the editorial 'No Credible Plan' and I am left to wonder: does it represent the 'improved' public relations that the President promised? I trust not, because to me and those who know better, it is just spin. Unfortunately, it is the Guyanese public at large that is being spun with misdirection from the issue.

Nobody expects a detailed operational plan of action, but a police department in service to the people, is duty bound to produce results and satisfy its mandate to protect the general public. Come now Mr. King, it is becoming pelucidly clear that the GPF is finding it difficult to protect its own members, much less the general public. The public has a right therefore to be concerned and the media the duty to reflect this concern. The results speak for themselves and it is evident that the GPF is reacting rather than displaying or employing proactive measures to pre-empt, prevent and control criminal activity.

Any law enforcement agency worth its salt would realize that the measures being employed are ineffective, when almost on a routine basis they are forced to seek military assistance to complete its mandate. Is Guyana in or is it not in a state of emergency? The frequency with which the GDF is being drawn into routine police duties would suggest that it is. While I recognize that joint services' operations are needed to confront specific threats, that have escalated to the state where national security is compromised, it is the glaring absence of sound intelligence gathering and coordinated action to prevent the run away crime situation, that depicts the quality and nature of leadership or lack thereof.

More importantly, it is this very duty in service to the public that demands efforts at confidence building by the GPF. No longer should Guyanese feel satisfied with being told that the GPF is acting on the problem when events on a daily basis indicate otherwise. If the GPF is to gain the confidence and support of the public it must be willing to entrust them with information that would indicate that tangible efforts are being made to resolve the seemingly insurmountable problems. And that need not be information on a planned raid but could include the nature and type of some of the measures being employed.

The GPF has and continues to underestimate the value of good community relations, preferring to keep them at arms length rather than embrace them as part of their strategy. Can you imagine what would happen if they were able to turn the minds (and eyes) of the public against criminals and criminal activity? It is time for the GPF to stop begging for the public to help and to win their confidence and trust so that they are motivated to do so.

Yours faithfully,

Merrill Hyman Sr