Following the latest kidnapping on the lower East Coast Demerara, security concerns for workers of utility companies have come into sharp focus and discussions are ongoing on how to better protect them.
Trinidadian, Lalchan, a foreman at DIPCON construction company, was on Tuesday nabbed by four gun-toting men as he checked workers at a site close to Coldingen, ECD.
He was subsequently released some three hours later after a $2M ransum was paid by his employers and is said to have departed the country for his homeland.
Yesterday both police and army sources were adamant that they were taking all necessary steps to ensure that communities on the East Coast were provided with a measure of security.
According to the police all necessary measures were being taken but it was impossible for them to stop all crimes.
Questioned about them offering protection to contractors undertaking utility work, the source said that this was not practical since they would then be burdened with the task of watching over some people to the detriment of a greater number in the communities.
Similar sentiments were echoed by army sources who said their operations which are geared toward providing support to the police, require them to have static patrols in and around neighbouring communities, particularly west of Buxton.
According to the source, the army, whose boundaries of operation included areas extending from Lusignan in the west to Enmore in the east, was directed to concentrate their efforts in Annandale which had been suffering numerous attacks.
Questioned on the response time of the forces, the army source said although the joint patrol was on the scene at Strathspey within 10-15 minutes, the inability to get any reliable information hinders progress.
It is like looking for a needle in a haystack since in a built up area like Buxton it is difficult to determine where persons could be hiding out.
The army which has on occasion been blamed for not apprehending persons said to have committed criminal acts, is barred by law from arresting persons unless they witness the crime.
It was reiterated that their constitutional mandate does not allow them like the police to act on suspicion or if persons should point out an individual whom they may claim was involved in some criminal act against them.
Meanwhile sources at the ministry of public works under whose auspices some projects are carried out by firms said that it is normal for them to inform police in the area about their activities and seek their cooperation.
This, the source said, was done when they erected the barricades east and west of the troubled villages along the railway embankment road.
DIPCON, Stabroek News understands, was at the time of the kidnapping, involved in a meeting with personnel of Guyana Water Inc. which had contracted them to do the pipe-laying work, discussing additional security for its personnel.
It is understood that they were seeking to have the water company provide adequate security for staff working in areas close to the troubled villages.