Government has piecemeal approach to crime fighting -- PNCR

Kaieteur News
April 28, 2007

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Chairman of the People's National Congress Reform, Winston Murray, is calling on the government to take a diverse approach to the steady increase in the crime rate in the city.

During a media briefing on Thursday, Murray said that the party is concerned about the nature of the recent crimes, their extent and intensity.

Murray noted that the government has been taking an erroneous position in the manner in which it deals with the crime issue. “There is need for a more competent police force that is better trained and able to conduct intelligence operations.”

“You have to tackle the fundamentals of crime” he said.

Murray added that there should be a judicial system that should then ensure expeditious trial of the suspects.

Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly and PNCR Executive Member, Clarissa Riehl, complemented Murray's statements, adding that government's approach to the crime issue is piecemeal.

She added that though there are good legislations on crime, the human resource element is the hindering factor. “There are good laws on paper but they need to be properly implemented.”

And commenting on the impending Local Government elections the political party said that the issue of house-to-house registration remains one of concern.

Mr. Murray said that the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) had already unanimously endorsed the decision of house-to-house registration before local government elections but President Bharrat Jagdeo objected, and is calling for the use of the 2006 list.

According to Murray, the recently appointed commissioner to GECOM, Vincent Alexander, will seek to ensure that GECOM's position is maintained by the commission. “Alexander's role is to ensure that the commission stays steadfast to its commitment to conduct house-to-house registration.” Murray said.

But President Jagdeo has noted that the 2007 budget does not allow for the holding of house-to-house registration for the elections, adding that the registration process will further delay the holding of the elections.

The party said that the new electoral system will include fifty per-cent of the candidates being elected to represent constituencies while fifty per cent will be elected on the old List system, using the PR system overall.

In addition to the passage of new Legislation, each local government area will have to be subdivided into constituencies and the residents educated on the areas of demarcation that their constituency candidate will represent.

The reform also provides for the system under which the local authorities will be allotted resources by the central government and their scope to raise revenues locally.

Further, the reform provides for the freeing-up of the local authorities from the sole control of the Minister and the creation of a Local Government Commission to regulate the work of local government bodies.

The President and the Leader of the Opposition have agreed on the immediate reactivation of the task force to complete its original mandate.

This reactivation should be completed by today and the PNCR said that it hopes that there is no breach of faith in this early stage of the Local Government Reform.