National response needed to stem deterioration in society - PNC/R
July 27, 2002
The PNC/R has stated that a national response is needed to stem the tide of deterioration in the society and this must be recognised by government instead of it continuing the blame game.
“One would have expected that any sane government would have realised that what is required is a national united response to the seriously deteriorating security situation,” Chairman of the PNC/R, Robert Corbin, said at the party’s weekly press conference on Thursday. “Regrettably, the visionless government, instead of seeking the help and cooperation of all sections of the society, continues to malign the PNC/R and use the situation for political propaganda.”
And PNC/R leader, Desmond Hoyte, in answer to a query, said he did not believe that a resumption of the dialogue between him and President Bharrat Jagdeo would bring an end to the current state of affairs.
The PNC/R condemned the continuing killing of policemen and laid the blame for the deterioration in society squarely on the shoulders of President Jagdeo. The PNC/R offered condolences to the officers and others who were gunned down during the shooting and robbing spree at Rose Hall on January 21.
“In our view, this further escalation in the level of violent crime represents an even more unacceptable level of deterioration in our security and is evidence of the contempt [with] which these murderers and bandits hold our police force. This disgraceful situation must be brought to an end if Guyana is to be saved from the brink of disaster,” Corbin stated.
He said that many officers of the force have expressed their dismay at the way in which their colleagues have met their demise. He also noted that members of private security firms were being targeted.
Hoyte said what was required to bring the situation under control was proper policing. He said the force was stuck in a colonial mode and has not been able to deal with the problems of a modern era.
Government would have to pay keener attention to issues such as emoluments for members of the force and conditions of service. He alluded to the accommodations provided for the ranks who manned the Rose Hall outpost and described it as nothing more than a pig sty. He declared that no human being should be made to work under such conditions.
Action must be taken promptly and comprehensively to remedy the situation, Hoyte said, and the police would have to win back the confidence of the society. He said that government should not draw a parallel with politics and crime and link the PNC/R with criminals because this would only evoke a negative reaction from the party.
Corbin referred to the party’s original position when it urged that speedy action was needed to support the force and modernise its operations, which the PNC/R felt would have prevented what was currently occurring. He recalled the PNC/R requesting that a public inquiry be held to identify the needs of the force and the way it functioned so that its operations could be regularised and public confidence restored.
He said there were calls for the upgrading of training and equipment of the force and the modernising of its methods and operations.
He added that his party has called for public inquiries into the deaths of officers gunned down in the line of duty and those who died in suspicious circumstances. Corbin recalled, too, that the PNC/R urged that there be an end to the assault and persecution of particular communities, which he said only engendered the deterioration in public support for the force and a restriction of its intelligence capabilities.
The party had also sought to have the “unjustified” distribution of firearms to private persons restricted. The resignation of the minister of home affairs was again put forward by the PNC/R.
Corbin said despite the resounding call from various sections of society for change, President Jagdeo gave no such indication in his address to his party’s recently concluded Congress. That was a sign, Corbin said, that the President was not prepared to do anything to stop the current reign of terror by the bandits.