Government must do more to make citizens feel secure
Stabroek News
April 13, 2002

Related Links: Articles on the police
Letters Menu Archival Menu

Government needs to do much more to increase the sense of security of citizens, PNC/R Chairman Robert Corbin has said.

At a press conference on Thursday, Corbin said the PNC/R expected that the increasing lawlessness and banditry which has descended upon the nation would cause the force to focus on recapturing the perpetrators and bringing them to justice.

He said his party was calling on all citizens to provide the police with any information and support which could lead to the apprehension of the five prison escapees and their accomplices.

"They have been on the rampage for too long. It is the PPP/C's blatant disregard for the rule of law that has created this fertile environment for lawlessness and crime," the PNC/R chairman alleged.

He noted that the PPP/C has been describing the PNC/R's criticism of the many extra-judicial killings as anti-police and pro-criminal but stated that nothing was further from the truth. "The PNC/R wishes to make it abundantly clear: our party is on the side of law and order."

Corbin recalled that party leader, Desmond Hoyte, during his tenure as head of state, had asserted that no-one was above the law. He said this included policemen and was why the PNC/R had spoken stridently against the extra-judicial killings. Critics have argued that extra-judicial killings occurred with regularity under the Hoyte administration.

"If our police force is allowed to ruthlessly eliminate perceived anti-social elements as standard operational procedure and without fear of sanction then they seriously damage the underpinnings of the very law and order which they claim to be reinforcing," he stated.

Corbin said the police's extermination of wanted persons could never be a substitute for sound police work and due process.

He stated that it was the substitution of brute force for proper investigative techniques and good community relations that made the task of recapturing the five escapees difficult.

PNC/R central executive committee member Raphael Trotman asserted that there was need for a unit like the Target Special Squad (TSS) in the force, but not one which operated as it currently did. He reiterated his party's call for the disbandment of the TSS and the formation of a new unit with a new mandate.

Trotman stated that the PNC/R recognised that a vacuum would be created if such a unit was not part of the force. "The reign of terror being perpetuated by the TSS must come to an end," he said.

He pointed out that there was no evidence that the TSS had been able to curb crime, given the recent upsurge in violent attacks.

Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr Roger Luncheon, has described the call for the disbandment of the TSS as ludicrous.

Corbin said the PNC/R has always been on record as condemning crime and has over the years called for a commission of enquiry into the functioning of the Guyana Police Force (GPF).

He said government has failed to act and has gone on record as condoning the unlawful acts of elements of the force.

Corbin said that his party dealt condignly with the "kick down the door" bandits when it was in office. "Instead of finding scapegoats the PPP/C must inform the nation of the date and time that the much needed commission of enquiry into the GPF will commence," he stated.

He added that the public must also be informed of when the inquests into the extra-judicial killings over the past three years would commence as well as the inquest into the April 9th 2001 shooting death of Donna McKinnon as ordered by the high court.