Conducive political climate needed to fight crime---President Jagdeo

Guyana Chronicle
April 25, 2003

Related Links: Articles on crime
Letters Menu Archival Menu

PRESIDENT Bharrat Jagdeo yesterday indicated that his administration needs more “political space” within which to operate if the Government is going to effectively deal with the current crime scourge plaguing the country.

Addressing the Annual Police Officers’ Conference yesterday, President Jagdeo said there needs to be “a conducive political climate” within which to operate. He also contended that criminals do not have loyalties to any political cause, and as such, criminal activities cannot be equated with political or any other cause.

The President said, too, that he was very pleased about recent statements made by Mr. Robert Corbin, leader of the main opposition PNCR in terms of supporting the police in the fight against crime.

The President also indicated that he has absolute confidence in the leadership of the Army and the Police Force, but that it is to be expected from time to time that there will be disagreements.

Mr. Jagdeo noted that as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed forces, he reserved the right to speak out on the things that he does not agree with and to let the country know, for instance, that he disagrees on tactical issues.

He, however, said no one, here or abroad, should construe such actions as the Commander-in-Chief being in a fight with the Army or the Police Force.

“We still have problems with coordination between the Army and the Police and many of you know that these issues of coordination are affecting our effectiveness on the ground,” Mr. Jagdeo told the opening ceremony of the conference.

The Guyanese head of State said that has to be resolved because only then can we effectively deal with the situation in the violence-prone East Coast Demerara village of Buxton, and other places.

He noted that this year, the Government allotted about $7.2B for security in the country - between the police and the army. He noted that a significant portion of the budgetary allocation is for the police.

The President also told the gathering that some key things including conditions of service in the Force need to be urgently addressed and he gave the assurance that he is personally looking into this matter. He also stressed that Policemen have to be properly equipped to do the job and his administration is going to do everything possible to ensure that this happens.

Mr. Jagdeo also contended that efforts are being made by his administration to make sure that every Police Station across the country is safe and secure from criminal attack. As such, he said, all Police Stations will have to be upgraded in such a way that it would also create an environment where people would want to work. He, however, noted that this requires a lot of resources, but is something that is necessary.

He also said every policeman should be exposed to some form of training in addition to the elementary training that they receive when they just become a Police rank. He also gave the assurance that although he would stand 100% behind the force and would vigorously defend it, members of the Force must operate within the laws of this country.

In this regard, he urged members of the Force to at all times strive to uphold the highest traditions of the Police Force and to operate within our Constitution.

The President also noted that Human Rights issues are very important and Policemen have to pay heed to that because sometimes the actions of a few create problems for everyone in the Force.

President Jagdeo also expressed thanks for the various forms of assistance received from friendly governments.

“Let me tell you some things about advice and I hope when you are discussing the plans today (and during the three-day conference), because many of the plans came out of advice from abroad which are good, its best practices have to be relevant to this country, to the situation here. I hope that you discuss the advice we have received and that these can be tested by your knowledge on the ground and by your experience since we are not going to implement things that are ideal to some people but cannot work here,” the President posited.

He also told members of the police that they need to be out there working on the image of the police force because in this world, it is all about marketing.

When the irresponsible sections of the media portray a negative impression, it takes considerable effort to erase that impression, he said.

“This is just as important as fighting the bandits or going out there and patrolling the streets. So I hope that you spend some time on that matter too,” he said.

The President also noted that Guyana Police Force does not operate in a vacuum, but that it is constrained and influenced by the global, regional and domestic environment.

“So many of these factors have had an impact on your ability to perform your duties too…So in your conference today, I hope you will also spend some time, not only in examining operational issues on how we can improve the efficiency of the Police Force but also you should focus some attention to discuss issues relating to the environment within which you operate,” Mr. Jagdeo told Members of the Force.

He also noted that apart from the domestic issue, we have to examine the regional trends in crime, including examining the factors driving crime within our region.

Site Meter