New police station officially opened at Turkeyen
Kaieteur News
December 20, 2006

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The crime situation in Sophia and the surrounding areas should be significantly reduced now that the long awaited police station at Turkeyen is officially up and running.

The $42M facility was officially opened yesterday by Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee, who, in his feature address, noted that the new police station is a manifestation of the impact that crime is having on the nation's economy.

“Sometimes, when we talk about what it costs to fight crime, we like to think only in terms of how many police were killed, how many robberies were solved, how many people were caught and imprisoned, and statistics of that nature. We neglect to look at the economic dimension of this fight, which requires heavy investment on the part of the government,” Rohee said.

Construction of the new station began on August 16 2004, after the land was acquired after a few hiccups.

This followed calls in 1998 from members of the then expanding community to establish such a facility to curb the growing incidences of criminal activity.

The 86'x 58' structure was completed on September 10 this year. It houses, in the upper flat, male and female barrack rooms.

The lower flat comprises enquiries offices; radio room; traffic and CID offices; property room; interrogation room; identification section, which is equipped with a one-way mirror; lock-ups, and offices for the various officers who will man the station.

The new Sophia station, which will be staffed with an officer, inspector, sergeant, and other ranks, will complement the seven existing police stations, as well as outposts on the East Coast of Demerara.

Minister Rohee told the gathering, which included Acting Police Commissioner Henry Greene, other senior officers, and members of the community, that the station is strategic in many ways.

He said that the Sophia community has elevated itself to a very high level, and it has come a long way from being formerly referred to as a squatter community, to now boast one of the most modern police stations.

Rohee stated that the government considers the Sophia/Turkeyen area as a strategic one in the long term development of Guyana .

He pointed out that the new Convention Centre, the Caricom Secretariat, the Ogle Airport and the University of Guyana all fall within the proximity of the area, and the Turkeyen Police Station will play a vital role in the development of the surrounding communities.

The minister said that Sophia was identified within the context of the Citizens' Security Programme, and this is designed to ensure that the community crime is brought under control.

He said that he will soon be approaching members of the community to set up a forum through which they will be able to play a more active role in the programme.

“It is generally said that ninety-eight percent of the society are law abiding, and two percent are usually those who would like to violate the laws. This is a small handful of people who constitute this two percent, and they seek to hold society to ransom, we have to change that. The overwhelming majority of Guyanese want to live in peace, and want to live in a society that is secure from crime. And we who constitute the majority must work to stem the tide, in order to ensure that we eventually win that battle,” the Home Affairs Minister said.

He challenged the ranks of the newly opened station to be the shining examples to other stations throughout the country.

The Minister also echoed the sentiments expressed earlier by Acting Commissioner Greene, who stated that for too long the offices of senior officers have been inundated with complaints from members of the public about police unprofessionalism.

Greene, in his address, disclosed that, for the year, the police office for professional responsibility has received 83 reports of neglect of duty, which outdistances other complaints by far.

On the East Coast of Demerara alone, there were 18 complaints of this nature.

“This station must not reflect that,” Greene said.

The Acting Commissioner said that yesterday should be a happy day for the residents of Sophia and the police.

He noted that the police ought to be wherever they can reflect a reduction in crime.

“The police should be proud for many reasons, since they will be comfortable working. I think that the comfort level of the ranks will make them work harder. This shows you the will, the readiness of the state to take care of our situation,” the Acting Commissioner stated.

He reiterated an earlier call for police ranks to be more responsive, pointing out that the force expects to keep the crime situation in the Sophia and surrounding areas under control.

“Police stations are developed to promote confidence, and they ought to reflect greater patrols, they ought to reflect more roadblocks, they ought to reflect more stops-and-searches,” the Acting Commissioner said.

He urged the residents to be patient, since there will be some inconvenience which, he said, will not be deliberate.

The Acting Commissioner also called on the public to be cooperative with the police, since the fight against crime cannot be won by the force alone.

“You need to stand your ground against the criminals. They may try to put that fear in you…but you need to come and give the evidence, and not be scared,” he said.

Members of the audience were given a tour of the facility, and the few residents who attending the opening were loud in praise for the interest shown by the administration in their developing community.