PNC/R repeats demand for review of Police Force operations By Rickey Singh
Guyana Chronicle
June 8, 2002

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THE main Opposition People's National Congress Reform (PNC/R) has expressed concerns about the Government's ability to contain the current upsurge of violent crimes.

At a news conference Thursday at the party's Congress Place headquarters in Georgetown, PNC/R spokesman, Mr. Stanley Ming said the Government would require a well-planned and structured approach to prevent the crime wave from overwhelming the nation.

He said the people of Guyana were thoroughly disgusted with what is perceived as "empty placatory" statements by the Government and spokespersons of the governing People's Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C).

He said the PNC/R felt compelled to repeat its demands for:

(1) an immediate review of the methods of operations of the Guyana Police Force to ascertain why it is failing to fulfill its mandate and to determine how it could be made to do so. An impartial and competent Commission of Inquiry is the recommended mechanism for that to be done.

(2) Disbanding the Police `Black Clothes' squad and the re-establishment of a professional, disciplined and properly equipped unit possibly under the command of a Guyana Defence Force (GDF) officer seconded to the Police Force.

(3) Placing emphasis more on intelligence gathering and improving the relationships between members of the Police Force and communities in Guyana.

(4) The early appointment of a new Minister of Home Affairs.

(5) The immediate appointment of the Commissioner of Police.

(6) Providing adequate resources to enable the new Commissioner to restore the operational effectiveness and professionalism of the Police Force.

Ming claimed that very skilled and experienced Police Officers were frustrated into leaving the Force. There were few promotions and the conditions of the service remained intolerable, he said.

He said the Police Force had been starved of material and other resources and was given just enough to keep it alive, but insufficient to give it the strength to effectively discharge the mandate which is to deliver service and protection to citizens.

The party official also claimed that the misuse of the Special Target Squad (Black Clothes) had alienated the wider Force from the communities they should rely on to serve.

He said the childish attempts to shift blame and demonise PNC/R supporters as "terrorists" will not create the right kind of environment necessary to deal with the situation.