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US$15 million anti-crime project launched

Guyana Monday launched a US$15 million Citizen Security Strengthening Program (CSSP) to reduce the crime and violence levels in Guyana over the next five years.

The US$15 million project is being funded by the inanced by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

The hemispheric bank says the Guyana government is placing significant resources to address challenges such as rising homicide rates robbery rates that significantly exceed global averages and frequent cases of domestic violence.

“The Citizen Security Strengthening Program will contribute nationally to reducing crime and violence through a comprehensive approach that combines preventive strategies with institutional strengthening activities,” the IDB said in a statement.

At the launch ceremony held Monday, January 25, 2016, Guyana’s Second Vice President and Minister of Public Security Mr. KhemrajRamjattan highlighted recent country statistics focussing on crime and violence and pointed to the significant investment being made by Government to remove this “formidable obstacle to development in Guyana”.

He hastened to implore that such efforts call for not only financial and technical inputs but they require local ownership and a national undertaking.  With the combination of partners on the CSSP and strong community involvement the Minister predicted success in reducing crime and violence in Guyana over time.

IDB Representative, Ms. Sophie Makonnen spoke of the high costs of violence and crime and its long-term consequences that put a significant burden on individuals, families, communities and ultimately country economies. She committed the Bank’s support to continue to build upon its current operational and knowledge base, providing countries like Guyana with high value-added financing and technical assistance under an integrated approach that both prevents and confronts violence and insecurity.

The CSSP is designed to increase the capacity of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) in criminal investigation practices and crime prevention strategies.  It focuses on skills training to improve community engagement and cooperation as well as systems strengthening in order to more effectively use data to proactively prevent and investigate crime and violence.

The program will rely on the capacity of the Guyana Prison Services (GPS) to incorporate and deliver rehabilitation and reintegration services to detainees and inmates.  CSSP activities will finance sustainable re-entry initiatives by assessing specific needs across the prison system, developing a suitable  model for rehabilitation and reintegration and setting up a case management program to support and track inmate progress.  Training for GPS staff to deliver these services is also included.

Community-level crime prevention actions will target twenty communities based on homicide, burglary, robbery and domestic violence rates.  The final list of communities under the CSSP will be compiled once the disaggregated data from the 2012 Census is released.  The program will address vulnerability through social prevention interventions and focus on developing a core of skills and capabilities among community members to allow them to cope with violence, unemployment and counterproductive behaviour risk factors.

This Citizen Security Strengthening Program (CSSP) follows a Citizen Security Program (CSP).  The CSSP will be executed through a Project Implementation Unit within the Ministry of Public Security.