Police helicopter, armoured cars still some way off
Stabroek News
January 20, 2003

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The government is still in the process of making arrangements for acquiring a helicopter and armoured cars for the Police to improve its capacity in the fight against criminals.

Home Affairs Minister Ronald Gajraj said that a number of things had to be put in place before the air wing of the Police Force is established such as identifying and training the necessary personnel.

The acquisition of the helicopter is to address the capacity of the police to deal with the spate of kidnappings, carjackings and other criminal activities.

Also still at the preparatory stage, according to Gajraj, are the arrangements to establish “a crack squad” to replace the much criticised Target Special Squad whose members it is alleged have been involved in a number of extra-judicial killings.

Gajraj conceded that the required weaponry and equipment to be used by the unit is still being sourced. Last week, Head of the President-ial Secretariat, Dr Roger Luncheon, announced that the acquisition was stalled because of the human rights criteria that must be met by importers of these weapons from the European Union.

Gajraj said that he was unaware of the conditions Dr Luncheon was referring to since it was the Office of the President that is dealing with that aspect of the project. However, some other arrangements have been made, including the identification of the location for the training of the squad being established as well as the identification of the criteria to be used in the selection of the officers to be its members.

The acquisition of the helicopter and the armoured cars and the establishment of the crack squad were among the menu of measures President Bharrat Jagdeo announced on June 8.

Other measures on the menu were the acquisition of protective gear and weapons for the police to the tune of $100M. This figure has since been increased to $200M.

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