Cabinet concerned about growing criminal presence in Buxton
By Mark Ramotar
Guyana Chronicle
December 19, 2002

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THE growing presence of criminal elements in the violence-proned East Coast Demerara village of Buxton and the supply of information to criminals, continue to engage the attention of the administration as they seek to tackle the pervasive crime situation in the country.

Head of the Presidential Secretariat and Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Roger Luncheon yesterday told his regular weekly post-Cabinet news conference that successive briefings on the crime situation continues to be an important subject for discussion at Cabinet meetings.

At its last meeting on Tuesday, Luncheon said important developments were highlighted at Cabinet, among which was the progressive implementation of the administration's anti-crime and anti-terrorism legislative programme.

He said the most recent events in that context was the tabling of the Anti-Kidnapping Bill in the National Assembly during its historic sitting last month at the Ocean View Convention Centre, Liliendaal, East Coast Demerara.

Another important development, according to Luncheon, has been "the recent delivery of the supplies and equipment to the law enforcement agencies (the Police).

"...and the third one has been the evidence of improved performances by the Police, particularly with regards to response time and processing of information related to current criminal activities," he added.

Notwithstanding those developments, however, Luncheon said, "Cabinet remains concerned about the large and increasingly growing criminal presence in Buxton".

"Additionally, concerns were expressed about the high levels of gun crimes being committed," he said.

An issue that has constantly hindered the efforts of law enforcement officials, is the continued buttressing of criminals, which has also been raised by Cabinet members, according to Dr. Luncheon.

In light of this he remarked "the evidence about the level of support that continues to be provided to the criminals" was identified as a matter of concern to Cabinet.

Since the February 23 jailbreak, a new level of crime and criminal activity has emerged through the use of dangerous assault rifles and high-tech communications equipment.

The slaying of Senior Superintendent, Detective Leon Fraser in April of this year, marked the beginning of what has today turned out to be a series of deadly assaults launched against members of the Guyana Police Force, by criminal elements, who have taken the lives of a number of ranks.

In an effort to stem the crime situation, the President announced a menu-of-measures last July, and the subsequent allocation of $100M for the purchase of improved weaponry for the GPF, to enhance their crime fighting capability.

In addition, joint Police/Army patrols were set up at Buxton Village where it was established that several known and wanted criminals were being housed and cared for, among them being the five escapees, of which two now remain at large.

Just recently, the Buxton village was identified as an unsafe vehicular corridor, based on a study that was conducted over the last year.

Several confrontations have ensued between civilians and members of the joint-patrols since their stations were set up in a village to ensure the safety and protection of neighbouring and other East Coast environs.

The continuing vigilance and response to the crime wave recently resulted in three criminals being killed by the Police when they attacked several ranks with firearms after carrying out a robbery in the West Ruimveldt area.

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