Guyanese in Canada rally to help Police here
Guyana Chronicle
August 17, 2002

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THE Guyana Police Force (GPF) whose members in recent times have been the target of criminals, yesterday benefited from a `most timely gesture' - the donation of protective gear valued some $2M, compliments of Med M Systems of Ottawa, Canada and the Guyanese community in Canada.

Guyana's High Commissioner to Canada, Mr. Rajnarine Singh, in handing over the gift to Commissioner of Police, Mr. Floyd McDonald, at a simple ceremony at the Officers' Mess, Eve Leary, Georgetown, said Guyanese living in Canada have been following the events here very closely and are extremely alarmed over the rising crime situation in this country.

As a result, they have resolved to do their utmost by assisting in whatever way possible to bring the situation under control, he said.

Remarking that the gift is a joint effort by Med M Systems, which deals with protective gear generally, and the Guyanese community, he expressed the hope that the gear will be put to good use and bring relief to members of the force who are constantly exposed to the dangers posed by criminals in the society.

Commissioner McDonald, in expressing appreciation on behalf of the Force to the donors, also thanked High Commissioner Singh who he said was instrumental in acquiring the equipment.

Minister of Home Affairs, Mr. Ronald Gajraj was also credited for his role in ensuring that the equipment was brought to Guyana, and according to the Commissioner he was advised that more donations are forthcoming.

The Police Force, the Commissioner noted, is grateful for the donation that will make it more proficient in dealing with violent encounters and riotous and other types of behaviour.

He said too that the acquisition of protective gear is in the forefront of the efforts by the Force, as it is considered that the safety of the ranks should be of paramount importance to make them feel more comfortable and be in a better position to confront the level of violence now facing the country.

Remarking that the Police over the past few months have been making efforts to ensure that more equipment is acquired for its members, McDonald said these efforts would be accelerated with the departure overseas this weekend by some officers to acquire protective wear.

The business visit is in keeping with a directive by President Bharrat Jagdeo for the Force to acquire protective gear and weapons, as a priority.

President Jagdeo at a news conference Wednesday had said he was disappointed that the acquisition of protective gear, contained in a set of initiatives he had announced on June 7 to tackle the escalating crime wave, had not yet been completed.

The President met with the top brass of the Police and heads of the various units on Wednesday just hours after the latest attack by criminals on a Police Impact Patrol unit, mere yards from the Brickdam Station.

Commissioner McDonald also urged the proper use of the gear.

Minister Gajraj, who also expressed thanks to those responsible for the donation, used the occasion to exhort members of the public to come out and show "some courage" and be of assistance to the Police in their quest to bring an end to the criminal activities.

The Laparkan Group of Companies was thanked for bringing the gear into Guyana with minimum delay, and according to the minister, other areas of the Force, including the Forensic Laboratory, will shortly benefit from added assistance.

The Police have to date expended millions for the acquisition of kit and equipment for the GPF, with some US$1M spent this year towards buying motor vehicles and water transport.

A further US$1M will be spent on protective gear, hardware and software, Gajraj said.

He said the Police are faced with a new dispensation of criminal activities and while there may be many local operatives, "we have very good reason to believe that some of the expertise which we are experiencing have been imported into this country."

But he assured, "be it as it is, the Force remains resolved to fight against all forms of criminal activities and all types of criminals and the Government of Guyana remains equally committed to give every possible support to the Guyana Police Force in its quest to maintain law and order in the country and to ensure breaches of the peace are not provoked."

"We stand firm in our position to give the best possible protection to the citizens of this country from all strata of the society. We have within recent times noted an increase in certain kinds of criminal activity and very often the Police are there to deal with these situations, while sometimes not with the degree as all might have liked.

"From the time the increase in crime started to now, we are much closer to putting a closure on that kind of activity," the Home Affairs Minister said.

The Commissioner, senior and junior officers, in particular the other ranks of the Force, were all commended by the minister for having stood up against tremendous odds at times, and despite what appears to be the valiant efforts of some to adversely affect the morale of the Police, have displayed much stamina and resilience and a commitment to redouble their efforts in order to discharge their responsibilities. (WENDELLA DAVIDSON)