Gajraj restates unswerving efforts to curb crime on East Coast
Guyana Chronicle
December 7, 2003

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(GINA) - IN THE face of the apparent increased criminal activity on the lower East Coast, Demerara, Minister of Home Affairs Ronald Gajraj has given the assurance to the Guyanese public about the unswerving efforts by the law-enforcement agencies to curb any emerging crime wave, and at the same time, ensure that there is safety for all.

The Minister's statement follows:
"As is public knowledge by now, during the past week or so we have had some ugly incidents primarily in Buxton and or course the neighbouring community. This situation had virtually subsided somewhat, but it seems to have raised its ugly head again, and there are those who seem bent on a life of crime. Not only to rob people but to kill at the drop of a pin if necessary. Naturally, that situation cannot be condoned and will not be condoned.

By and large we have found that the residents in Buxton have taken a position against the criminals who want to find refuge in that community, and in so doing I wish to congratulate them and encourage them to ensure that their community is free of crime and criminals. We have had certain procedures carried out in Buxton and I wish to report quite happily that we have had much support from the Buxtonians. Not every Buxtonian, we are at pains to point out, would be happy with what occurs in Buxton nor are they prepared to give support to those who are inclined to commit or to perpetrate criminal activities. We would wish to join hands with them as we pursue a common objective. That is to rid the community of the criminals and of course the crime.

We have had this situation in Non Pariel recently which could be considered to be one incident even though it involved several families. It happened in a relatively new housing scheme where the infrastructure works have not been completed, but people have chosen to reside in that community. There is no electricity, nor communication facility. We have recognised this and from a security stand point, I have met with residents of the community and there are certain measures that we have agreed upon and these will be put in place.

Obviously in the circumstances, residents must be given every assistance in securing their lives, the lives of their families and of course their property. Because it is a community that does not have communications facilities, to wit, telephones in particular, by the time an incident might have happened or some kind of suspicious movement would have been noticed, and any resident tries to get out to get to the police, much vital time would have elapsed. And as such the criminals, who are very familiar with the terrain and the area, would make good their escape.

We appreciate that not all over vehicles can be accommodated, so our vehicular patrols, in particular, is limited to certain geographic areas only. As a result of which, we have got to consider foot patrols and with residents of the community who are themselves familiar with the geographic layout of the area, have expressed a willingness to join forces with the police, in order to deal with these situations. So there are certain measures that are being put into those areas to deal with the crime situation. While in the main thoroughfare, where we have robberies of minibuses being committed and even one person killed by some youngsters who seem to have no regard for life or the sanctity of life, all they are concerned about is what money they can get by whatever means, irrespective of at what cost.

We have increased patrols; we have brought in policemen from other areas and we have increased the number of vehicles that are going to be at the disposal of the force to deal with what they are confronted with out there. So while we have an increase in vehicular patrols, we have also directed our minds to foot patrols and to certain kinds of activities that would lead to better and secure communities.

I am again expressing gratitude to residents for going the extra mile in assisting the police in supplementing the work of the police to fight against the criminals and their activities. I also want to make it very clear that whatever interdiction procedures we may pursue that may involve cordon and search, or may involve roadblocks, we want to ask the general public to bear with us. Even though you may suffer some personal inconvenience, it is not deliberately set out to harass you.

In particular, the resident of Buxton and of the nearby communities, I want to assure you that the procedures which we are adopting and which we are about to pursue, are not meant to harass the law-abiding citizens, but are geared solely against the criminal elements. We have a fair idea, based on the intelligence we have managed to put together, the perpetrators of these dastardly act and we will pursue them. We ask for your cooperation and support and the criminals must understand that there are no rocks to give them shelter, whether in Buxton or anywhere else.

While of course you would appreciate that I have concentrated my remarks and sentiments to residents of Buxton and neighbouring communities, I wish to assure the general public throughout the length and breadth of Guyana, and particularly the residents of the Lower East Coast of Demerara and Georgetown, that the security forces have been deployed. As a matter of fact, we have employed the services of some other units and we are in the process of increasing our capabilities in Georgetown, along the market area along the car parks and along shopping plaza areas.

We have deployed policemen along the routes in security booths with the hope and expectation that if members of the public were to be affected in any way, they would immediately report to the police who should be in close proximity, and they should give every assistance to the police that they should rid the streets, the city and everywhere, of these criminal elements.

We will spare no effort we will leave no stone unturned. We have deployed policemen in plain clothes as well as having deployed policemen in uniform. They have their various roles to perform. As it regards to the traffic situation, we appreciate that there is traffic congestion at this time and I want to commend the Mayor and City Council for the proposed course of action to deal with the traffic situation.

We are also cognisant of the traffic build up at some of the bridges that are under repairs, and the opportunities they can present for criminal activities to be perpetrated. We have deployed policemen we have deployed motor vehicles in which there are policemen to deal with any situation that may present itself.

So I want to assure the public at large, that while we do not promise an absolute crime-free situation, which in my humble opinion is almost impossible to obtain, we are nevertheless doing whatever it takes, to ensure that there is a minimum of crime or criminal activities and to ensure that you are not a victim of any such criminal acts or actions".