Govít mute on US Embassyís remarks of ineffectual police response
- staff reduction could affect bilateral aid

Stabroek News
May 18, 2003

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The government prefers to let the recent activities of the security forces speak for themselves, was the only comment Information Liaison to the President, Robert Persaud was prepared to make in answer to comments by US ambassador Ronald Godard on the ineffectiveness of the police in stemming violent crime.

In recent days the army and the police have intensified their activities in the Buxton area, the haven of criminals who for the past year have been on a rampage in villages on the lower East Coast Demerara and elsewhere.

Godardís comments were made at a press briefing at the US embassy on Friday, which he called to explain the travel advisory on Guyana issued by the US State Department.

Godard told reporters that because of the governmentís inability to provide adequate security for the international community resident here, diplomatic missions have had to review their security arrangements.

A US embassy official also told Stabroek News that the possible reduction of embassy personnel mentioned by the ambassador would affect the bilateral aid programmes.

Concern about the security of the diplomatic community was aggravated by the kidnapping of Regional Security Officer at the US embassy, Stephen Lesniak, from the Lusignan Golf Course, East Coast Demerara. A team from the US Federal Bureau of Investigations and the State Departmentís Diplomatic Security Service had assisted the local police in its investigations but no arrests were made. Neither Lesniak nor the local US embassy employee who negotiated and handed over the ransom were made available to the police before they left for the United States. Informed sources have told Stabroek News that the police had been unaware of their departure and so could not make arrangements to speak with the local employee before she departed.

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