Cabinet laments resurgence of criminal violence
--- cops to benefit from British firearm training
Guyana Chronicle
March 25, 2004

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CABINET deplores the resurgence of criminal violence on the East Coast of Demerara and notes that it coincided with the PNC's mobilization in some areas for street protests and marches.

This was disclosed by Head of the Presidential Secretariat (HPS), Dr. Roger Luncheon, at his weekly news conference yesterday.

"Such a sequence, criminal violent activity being increased during the political opposition PNC/R's mobilization for and implementation of protests is not new and is now virtually linked and expected," Dr. Luncheon declared.

He added: "The nature of the violence, break and enter, armed robbery and brutal assault is a clear indication of the law enforcement's unfinished business in the area."

Consequently, on Tuesday Cabinet reiterated its fundamental policy position on community policing, and called on the Minister of Home Affairs to engage the Guyana Police Force (GPF) in providing more support and security for those communities, in enhancing the preparedness of community policing groups and also acting against the criminal gangs, the HPS reported.

Meanwhile, the HPS said the British government in further support to the GPF will begin training next month in the use of firearms, crowd control and the media. The latter will target police professionals and administrators.

The training, the HPS noted, is tantamount to a short-term intervention and the implementation of these steps relates to inter-current developments in the GPF and the furthering of the planned reforms within the police force.

Responding to why there was a delay in beginning the training, Dr. Luncheon cited problems associated with the appointment of a new Commissioner of Police as well as matters pertaining to the expediting of the granting of licenses for the importation of firearms. These "dragged out the implementation of the operational nature" of what was agreed in the use of weapons, Dr. Luncheon added. (Chamanlall Naipaul)