PNC/R supports national dialogue on crime situation
Guyana Chronicle
August 11, 2002

Related Links: Articles on politics
Letters Menu Archival Menu

THE main Opposition People's National Congress Reform (PNC/R) has said that it would support a national dialogue and consensus on the escalating crime situation in the country.

At a news conference Thursday, party Central Executive Committee member, Mr. Deryck Bernard said the PNC/R has been maintaining that the answer to the suffocating crime wave is to have a national dialogue on the issue.

He charged that while the Government pretends to be in control of the situation, the criminals continue to rule the roost.

"The country is quickly disintegrating and the criminal situation is symptomatic of that disintegration. Despite the false sense of hope the PPP/C seeks to present, crime continues to spiral uncontrollably to a point where even women are alleged to have taken to masking themselves and robbing hapless victims", he stated.

Bernard said the PNC/R noted with concern recent statements made by the Government about a raft of proposed laws intended to deal with the overwhelming crime situation, but did not believe a solution lies in that.

"Our concern is born out of a sense of helplessness being displayed by the regime", he told reporters.

The party official said the nation has been regaled with the statements about "Operation Tourniquet", financing for the Police Force and the capacity building and further emphasis on community policing, none of which seemed to have borne much fruit or have brought any sense of comfort or security.

"Indeed, things seem to be getting worse and we are told that laws are being drafted to address among other things, the presence of deportees in our country", he said.

He said there should be a broad-based discussion and inquiry into the operations of the Guyana Police Force with a view to assisting in its modernisation.

"We believe that its current structure needs to be brought in line with modern practices and would help to cleanse the image of the force", he said.

PNC/R Executive member Mr. Raphael Trotman, who also spoke at the news conference, said there is need for a complete and comprehensive review of national security, crime and punishment in Guyana.

He claimed that the "piecemeal" approaches by the Government of having law enforcement officers dressed in different types and colour of uniforms at different times of the day and in unmarked vehicles, is not the answer to the real problems of solving crime.

He said that the situation continues to get out of control with or without the Police or the Army.

Meanwhile, in a statement Friday, the People's Progressive Party (PPP) in the "strongest terms", condemned the violence meted out to the Chester family in the Buxton/Friendship, East Coast Demerara area on Wednesday morning.

The houses and possessions of the family were destroyed by "arsonists/criminals", the PPP said, adding, "Very sad is the fact that family members, including children were shot at while they were escaping from the blaze."

The family has reportedly left the area after more threats on their lives.
"From all appearances, it seems that this family became a target of the bandits after they demonstrated decency and support for law and order in defence of their community.

"This violence was not only against this family, but an attack on all law-abiding Buxtonians and Guyanese who have refused to surrender to the criminals and lawless elements in our society", the PPP, the main partner in the governing PPP/C, declared.

"We have been warning those political agents and others who have been giving tacit support to the criminals, of the harm that they are causing to the good name of Buxton and the vast majority of law-abiding, hard working and honest persons of that village."

The PPP said it seems that "those who glorify the criminals interpret criminal and deviant acts as ways of undermining the Government."

"At meetings in Buxton, these political elements urge certain lawbreakers to keep up the `pressure on the Government'", it noted.

The PPP called on all law-abiding and democratic forces to come out strongly against this attack on law-abiding citizens.

"Disappointing is the fact that the PNC/R, which is always quick to condemn police action against criminals, has so far remained silent on the most recent destruction of private property and an attempt to murder an entire family by bandits", the statement said.