Khan says gov't all talk no action
Stabroek News
September 13, 2002

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The PPP/Civic has launched a propaganda offensive intended to convince the public that the current crime wave is being imagined by journalists and the opposition, PNC/R member Jerome Khan said yesterday.

Khan was speaking at the PNC/R's weekly press conference and he noted that the government seemed not to recognise the seriousness of a situation where people were seeing the collapse of order and the shrinking of business and social activity.

Meanwhile Khan said the party condemned the callous and cavalier attitude which characterises the approach of the government to the crime wave. He said that while law-abiding and decent citizens cower indoors at nightfall and gangs of all types roam the country unchecked, "the PPP/C has taken an astonishingly blase attitude."

Jerome said the current circus of so-called consultations was another contemptuous attempt by the government to divert attention from their failure and disarray. He noted that the consultations were attracting no public support and the harsh reality was that the public wanted clearly focused action that was policy driven, firm, decisive and organised.

He said the government calling out the troops was good propaganda, but it was patently not good for the morale of the police or the army. It was intended to allow the government to continue to avoid honestly addressing the fundamental causes of the national crime and public security problems.

The government, having demoralised the police force was now bent on "dragging the GDF into the quagmire created by its own incompetence, insensitivity, corruption and bad faith."

He said the army should be carefully circumscribed within its constitutional mandate and as authorised by law. Khan said the constitutional and legal position is that the GDF's loyalty should be to the constitution not to any government or political party. Such an approach, he said, will serve to prevent the demoralisation of the army; the undermining of its professionalism and the diminishing of its operational competence and capacity.

The police, he said, now seem to have "abandoned their legal and constitutional responsibilities for the maintenance of law and order, and appear content to surrender their duties to the army unfettered by any limitations."

Meanwhile the PPP/C, he said, continues to bask in the self-deception that the war on crime will be won by the purchase of heavier weapons and protective gear, but the PNCR believes that such an approach will have little effect.