PNC/R voices concern about body 'pile up'
by Jaime Hall
Guyana Chronicle
November 7, 2003

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PNC/R members during the press conference yesterday. From left are: Mr. James McAlister Mr. Stanley Ming, Ms Volda Lawrence, Mr. Winston Murray and Mr. Hanley Case.

The main opposition party, People's National Congress/Reform (PNC/R), says as the bodies of murdered persons continue to pile up, the Police seem incapable of dealing with this problem.

Party member Stanley Ming said at a press briefing at Congress Place, Sophia, yesterday that the PNC/R is reliably informed that Senior Police Officers are themselves disillusioned about the recent crime wave and have expressed an inability to deal with it.

The Party noted that a travel advisory issued on November 3, 2003 circulating within the diplomatic and international commercial community states that since August this year more than two persons have died and their deaths have baffled the Police.

Ming said the advisory quoted a Senior Police Officer as saying, "we are not sure what exactly is going on".

Guyana has already surpassed the record set in 2002 of 150 persons killed in criminally related activities. The figure to date stands at 176.

According to the advisory, he said, the officer cited an ongoing drug war as the reasons for the killings since last year "and not political terrorism as misrepresented by the People's Progressive Party (PPP/C) regime and its apologists."

If the cause is the drug trade then the fight has to be taken to the drug lords, he posited. But have they become too powerful to be suppressed? he questioned.

The PNC/R during last week opined that Guyana had become a narco-state and the recent pronouncements of the Crime Chief and others confirm this opinion. It said something has to be done about it rather than mere talking.

"But with not one of these murders being solved," Ming contended, "the Police Force could be in danger of losing its legitimacy to enforce law and order in the country."

This situation has become more serious than first thought and requires a comprehensive approach that involves all stakeholders, he said.

He said the Police Force cannot simply dissociate its self from the abductions and killings and absolve itself of the responsibility of providing safety and security to citizens of Guyana.

"The Police force needs a shake up now," Ming said, then asked: but from where would this start?" The party's Executive Member James McAllister believed one of the first steps is to have a Police Commissioner who can properly carry on the functions of a constitutional office.

Fundamental to this problem is to have a Commissioner who is properly appointed and who knows that he is not carrying on at the "wishes and fancies" of any politician. "It is from there we think the shake up can flow".

McAllister said the current Police Commissioner Mr. Floyd McDonald is a retiree on the job from month to month on contract and cannot carry on the functions of a constitutional office if he must depend on the government to renew his contract at the end of the month.