PNC/R charges…
Menu of measures on crime inadequate, unimpressive Guyana Chronicle
June 15, 2002

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PEOPLE’S National Congress/Reform (PNC/R) has described the menu of measures announced by President Bharrat Jagdeo to deal with the current crime situation and enhance the image of the Police Force as “inadequate and unimpressive”.

PNC/R Central Executive Committee member, Mr Raphael Trotman maintained, at his political party’s weekly Press briefing in Congress Place, Sophia, Georgetown, that the main plank for building back the Police image is better community relations.

He said what was outlined by the Head of State last week “does not address the immediate concerns and needs of the society at large, nor the Police Force in particular.

According to Trotman, the $100M allocated, no doubt, will be used to purchase vehicles, communication equipment and weaponry.

However, PNC/R does not believe that expenditure will compensate for the “low morale, corruption and the dull image that has engulfed the Police Force”.

Trotman said strengthening the Police Public Relations Department is just as important as the acquisition of material.

The attorney-at-law said PNC/R did not put forward any alternative recommendations as the party is in no position to tell the Government what to do at this time.

Trotman said, if the Government had heeded Mr (Desmond) Hoyte’s call, in 2001, for a complete inquiry into the operations of the Police Force, the present crime situation could have been avoided.

Trotman said the announcement that there will be a new crack crime force vindicates the cries and criticisms, made by PNC/R and many others, about the illegal actions of the Target Special Squad popularly called the ‘Black Clothes’ Police and shows they have merit.

He warned that the planned continued utilisation of the ‘Black Clothes’ Police will contaminate the new unit.

Trotman suggested that the way forward is through a comprehensive review and overhaul of the entire organisation and operations of the Police Force and adequately and comprehensively preparing for future restoration of professionally competent policing in Guyana.

PNC/R Chairman, Mr Robert Corbin, also a lawyer, commenting on President Jagdeo’s demand for the party to condemn all forms of criminal activities without any reservations, said it is pointless speaking about condemnation of crime unless the causes are examined, as well.

Corbin argued that one of the important factors responsible for crime is the economic situation of the country, the lack of jobs and the social structure of the society, which is organised in a manner to allow for discrimination in many facets of life.

He said, too, that PNC/R, as a responsible party, will continue to speak out about those issues, whether the Government likes it or not.

Corbin declared that the Government is not going to dictate what PNC/R says.

“We have condemned crime and our record while in government, in dealing with crime, is impeccable,” he said.

Corbin boasted that, during the PNC regime while he was President, Hoyte stood up and controlled the criminal situation and that is testimony to the party’s position on crime.

Corbin said the nation is still waiting to hear about the operational command and control efforts to recapture the five armed and very dangerous criminals who staged the daring daylight escape from Georgetown Jail on Mash Day.

The February 23 flight from the city penitentiary, by Andrew Douglas, Dale Moore, Troy Dick, Mark Fraser and Shawn Brown, left Prison Officer Troy Williams dead and another, Roxanne Whinfield, critically injured.