Internal security top priority - Luncheon
Felix heads task force Stabroek News
June 13, 2002

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The government says internal security remains its top priority and is calling on the Guyanese people to continue the fight to rid the society of the scourge, which threatens this security.

Cabinet secretary, Dr Roger Luncheon, said yesterday at a press conference that the task force assigned to implement the menu of measures announced by President Bharrat Jagdeo to address the crime situation has been working.

Commissioner of Police-designate, Winston Felix, who is putting together the team, heads the task force. The team is required to make frequent reports to the Office of the President.

Capital expenditure in the Guyana Police Force (GPF) has increased over the last few years. Since 1992 there have been increases in the allocations for the national security sector. In the past, much of the funds went to the Guyana Defence Force but more recently emphasis has been placed on civilian law enforcement agencies.

Luncheon said areas being addressed are physical infrastructure, transportation and arms and ammunition. He noted that the President has given the undertaking to provide additional funding over the 2002-2004 period. The additional funds over this period would address the needs of the GPF and other civilian law enforcement agencies in the areas of communication, protective gear, and weaponry, among others.

Currently Cabinet is fast-tracking the acquisition of transportation for the GPF, Luncheon disclosed. He stated the money allocated was not intended to address wages and salaries and terms and conditions of members of the force.

Luncheon said the three-pronged support being provided by the United Kingdom has a component which deals with the strengthening of the investigative capacity of the force. It is expected that personnel from Scotland Yard would liaise with their local counterparts to provide the support for the improvements.

He recalled that senior officers from Scotland Yard were in Guyana to assist in bringing the investigation level of the GPF to a modern standard, which would better aid prosecution of individuals. Work in this area is also being addressed at the level of Caribbean Commissioners of Police, he said.

He noted that this aspect of the police force has been targeted for improvement for some time and it is envisaged that more focus would be placed here with the recent agreement between Guyana and the United Kingdom.

Luncheon said the crime spectacle which unfolded over the past weeks has provided a reflection of what he said was the political extremism of the opposition People’s National Congress REFORM (PNC/R) and the recklessness of certain sections of the media, both print and electronic.

Resolute action is being taken by the administration to resolve the issue, he said, charging that forces, which conspire to make Guyana ungovernable, have battered the psyche of the nation.

This is a defining point in time, he said, and the administration is calling on Guyanese to continue to fight to maintain the integrity of the society to expel the scourge from its midst. Luncheon said the calls by the ruling PPP/Civic for unequivocal statements by the PNC/R on crime, domestic terrorism and internal security seem to have fallen on deaf ears.