Police plan anti-kidnapping unit
-more crime legislation proposed By Andre Haynes

Stabroek News
October 26, 2002

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The Guyana Police Force is making plans to establish an anti-kidnapping unit and legislation will be shortly be introduced mandating stiffer penalties for kidnapping and gun crimes.

These disclosures were made yesterday by Acting Commissioner Floyd McDonald and President Bharrat Jagdeo, respectively. The top cop was, at the time, briefing reporters on the recent spate of kidnappings that has added a new dimension to Guyana's current crime wave. The president, on a visit to the Essequibo coast told residents about the initiative at a meeting in Anna Regina.

According to a GINA release, the president said the latest developments in the crime upsurge have made it necessary for the laws to be tightened.

"He noted that the present legislation is inadequate to prosecute such cases and, consequently, government has taken the decision to go to the National Assembly to amend the existing legislation," the release stated. The Head of State is calling on citizens to support this move.

At least six persons have reportedly been kidnapped since the beginning of the month, the latest occurring yesterday morning when a goldsmith was escorting his daughter to an East Coast Demerara High School.

McDonald said: "In response to the increase in the number of incidents of kidnappings and extortions, we have contacted a sister service of one of the CARICOM states for assistance in forming and training a well-equipped anti-kidnapping unit."

The top cop, however, refused to divulge from which country help was sought. According to him, the force has received a favourable response.

"We are in the process of making the necessary arrangements at a government to government level. Mean-while, we are using our resources to deal with the recent incidents," McDonald told reporters.

Of the six people kidnapped this month, five of them were snatched between Wednesday night and yesterday morning.