Police need to work on community relations - PNC/R Stabroek News
June 14, 2002

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The PNC/R is recommending that the first step towards arresting the rise in crime is for the Guyana Police Force (GPF) to work assiduously to improve its relations with communities.

PNC/R's central executive committee member, Raphael Trotman, told reporters yesterday at a press conference that his party felt the menu of measures announced by President Bharrat Jagdeo last week was inadequate to fight the crime wave.

"What was unveiled is a set of superficial measures which are inadequate to achieve the desired result. Nothing in these measures addresses the immediate concerns and needs of the society at large, and the Guyana Police Force in particular," Trotman said.

He stated that the $100 million allocation to the GPF would not compensate for the low morale, corruption and the dull image, which has engulfed the force.

He said the announcement in the measures of the establishment of a new crime crack force is a vindication that the cries and criticism made by the PNC/R and others about the operations of the Target Special Squad (TSS) had merit. He warned that the planned continuation of the TSS would contaminate the new unit.

Trotman said it was not surprising that the TSS was not being disbanded since the PNC/R had warned the nation on several occasions that the unit was politically enmeshed with the PPP/Civic.

Trotman stated that apart from repairing damaged community relations, the strengthening of the GPF's public relations department was just as important as the acquisition of resources.

"The only way forward is through a comprehensive review and overhaul of the entire organisation and operations of the Guyana Police Force. Then and only then can we adequately and comprehensively prepare for the future restoration of professionally competent policing in Guyana," he said.

When asked about ways in which the crime situation could be brought under control, Trotman stated if the PPP/C felt it was elected to govern then it should do so and come up with the solutions, but reiterated that the first step should be better relations with the community.

Chairman of the PNC/R, Robert Corbin, argued that the PPP/C has not been responsive to objective criticism in the past, which could be used to benefit the state.

Calls for action by the PNC/R and recommendations to remedy situations were ignored, he said.

He recalled PNC/R leader Desmond Hoyte recommending since April last year that a commission of enquiry to be held into the operations of GPF. Some of the recommendations of the Peter Willems Commission, which conducted an enquiry into the Georgetown Prison several years ago, also went unheeded, he said.