Musing on crime and security Editorial
Guyana Chronicle
December 24, 2006

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AT THIS season of goodwill and merry-making, a common feature across the member states of our Caribbean Community is the quite visible presence of the police, some armed and mobile, others on foot patrols, giving a sense of security to shoppers and other citizens of protection against criminals.

Crime has emerged as a major problem in most CARICOM states and, consequently, the law enforcement agencies have been compelled to be better equipped and prepared to go on the offensive against the criminals.

The Guyana Police Force, like its counterparts in other CARICOM states, is also faced with the challenge to recover numbing quantities of illegal guns, including sophisticated AK-47 rifles -- such as those stolen from the Guyana Defence Force -- in the possession of criminal networks that seem to be expanding their bases of operations across the country.

In our situation, it is right and proper that both the head of the GPF and GDF in reflecting on the operations of their respective force, avoid minimising failures, some quite outrageous while, at the same time, offering deserved praise and encouragement for work well done.

They would know that a safe and secure environment is absolutely essential for the peace and orderly development of Guyana which should in no way be compromised by ANY consideration inconsistent with their mission statements and, ultimately, what's good for our nation.

In extending our own best wishes to the security forces, knowing that their members are now in a better position to celebrate Christmas with the one-month tax free bonus they deserve, we also express the hope that:

GDF Chief of Staff Brigadier General Edward Collins will succeed in generating more confidence within the army and among the public with the recovery of the 30 stolen AK-47 rifles. Further, that the army will continue to show a high profile in working with the police to rid this nation of the criminal networks that continue to kill, steal, destroy and spread fear.

Secondly, that the powers that be, including the relevant politicians, and the Police Service Commission, would act without delay in confirming the appointment of Mr. Henry Greene as the Police Commissioner.

He has done well, in cooperation with his colleagues, to merit such a confirmation in his relatively short period of acting in that post since the retirement of Mr. Winston Felix.

Our Disciplined Services, like the workers of our public service and other state institutions, have had to overcome, over the years, the legacy, the damning consequences of the undemocratic doctrine of "party paramountcy".

The indications are that they have done quite well in dealing with that social and political burden. They, therefore, need and deserve the respect and cooperation of ALL segments of the Guyanese society.

The more the GPF and GDF inspire confidence in public safety and national security, the more they could expect the solidarity of the Guyanese people -- across ethnicity and political affinity.

Let the battle intensify against crime. Let us enjoy Christmas and spread some joy and goodwill.