We are not opposed to technical help from Scotland Yard, only control
May 9, 2002
Letters on the police
I refer to a letter by Mr Richard Ousman captioned "Scotland Yard should be welcome" (6.5.2002). In his letter Mr Ousman said, "I was surprised by Mr Ogunseye and his guest Mr Corlette's attack on the British and its offer of Scotland Yard's technical expertise to help make the Guyana Police Force (GPF) become a more professional organisation. Instead of welcoming this move, these two gentlemen denounced it."
First, let me say that it was nice to hear that Mr Ousman is a regular viewer of the African Perspective and that my programme is his favourite show. Mr Ousman please continue to watch the African Perspective and feel free to express any criticism of the programme as you wish. ACDA and I welcome these kinds of interventions from viewers.
My main reason for writing this letter is to correct the wrong impression that was conveyed to your readers by Mr Ousman that my guest Mr Corlette and I are opposed to the British offer of technical expertise to the Guyana Police Force. I don't know whether Mr Ousman saw the programme from its commencement. Even if he had not done so, he most likely would have seen the latter stages when the telephone lines were open to viewers for their participation in the discussion.
During that aspect of the programme some callers raised similar concerns like those of Mr Ousman. Both Mr Corlette and myself used the opportunity to clarify our positions on the issue. We pointed out that we were not, and are not against any country providing technical assistance to the GPF. Mr Corlette even said that he would welcome exchange programmes between Scotland Yard and the Guyana Police Force, which allowed officers to work for periods of time in each other's country.
Mr Corlette was against British Scotland Yard having a supervisory control over the GPF which he perceived as a loss of national sovereignty over an important arm of the state and a form of re-colonisation. He was adamant that regardless of the situation in the country the GPF must at all times be controlled by Guyanese.
Mr Corlette in a letter published in SN of 26.4.2002 captioned "Scotland Yard is not needed" had in that letter expressed similar views to those he raised on African Perspective.
On African Perspective he elaborated on his pro nationalist and patriotic position - which is that the GPF must at all time be in Guyanese control.
My own view on who should control the GPF is similar to that of Mr Corlette. I must make it very clear that as the moderator of the programme I did everything in my power to highlight my guest's opposition to British supervision of the Guyana Police Force.
Mr Ousman what is your position on British supervision/control of the GPF?