Internal security, maintaining law and order top priority Guyana Chronicle
June 14, 2002

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CABINET, on Tuesday, re-emphasised that internal security and the maintenance of law and order remain the number one priority for the Government, Head of the Presidential Secretariat (HPS) and Cabinet Secretary, Dr Roger Luncheon reported.

He said the menu of measures announced by President Bharrat Jagdeo last week and the task force for the implementation “are all working” and that reflects the commitment of the Administration to provide security to the Guyanese people.

According to Luncheon, the “spectacle that has unfolded” over the past weeks provides for much reflection at this time.

“Reflection about the political extremism of the opposition People’s National Congress/Reform (PNC/R), the recklessness of sections of the media, both print and electronic and, of course, resolute actions being taken by the Administration and State agencies to resolve the national issue in a timely and appropriate way,” he told reporters at his regular post-Cabinet news conference at the Presidential Secretariat.

“The psyche of the nation has been battered by those forces committed to making Guyana ungovernable and those forces have conspired and laboured assiduously to bring Guyana to this current situation,” Luncheon asserted.

“These are defining moments and the Administration is calling on Guyanese to continue the fight to maintain the integrity of the society, to expel this scourge from our midst and to reverse its impact on the society,” he added.

President Jagdeo, also at a news conference, called on Guyanese from all walks of life, last Friday, to unequivocally condemn crime when he disclosed the steps being taken to tackle the crime situation.

He, too, said it was the number one priority.

Luncheon noted that there has been significant increases in the funds allocated to the Guyana Police Force over the last 10 years, under the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government.

“I don’t believe that we have the patience to paint a proper picture of the early 1990s, when capital expenditure in the national security sector was indeed the lowest it has ever been for years,” the HPS stated.

He said: “Understandably, this reflected the situation of budgetary inadequacies and the appalling economic and financial circumstances that were part and parcel of the then PNC Administration’s overview of the economy.”

Luncheon said, since 1992 when the PPP/C took office, much of the progressive increases in allocations to the national security sector went to the military and, more recently, emphasis has been shifted somewhat to the civilian law enforcement agency (in terms of) transportation, arms and ammunition and addressing the physical infrastructure of Police stations.

Those have been the three critical areas where the additional financing has been dedicated, he explained.

Luncheon said President Jagdeo’s undertaking last year, the year before and this year, about additional funds being pumped into the capital budget of the civilian law enforcement agency, certainly has contributed to the significant increases in capital allocations.

The President went further and indicated that, at least two years into the future (2003 and 2004), special and dedicated attention would be paid in budgetary allocation to this same sector, the HPS said.

Luncheon said additional funds will be made available this year and in 2003 and 2004, as well, of which the President clearly indicated and the purpose is to address the needs of the Police Force and the civilian law enforcement agencies in terms of capability, weaponry, protective gear, transportation and communication.