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Berbice Chambers, Police Association trade barbs over crime situation

Recently graduated members of the Guyana Police Force.

Recently graduated members of the Guyana Police Force.

Two of Guyana’s leading Chambers of Commerce in Berbice and police are at odds over the state of crime mainly in the Berbice area where there have been several armed robberies.

While the Guyana Police Force (GPF) did not respond specifically to the concerns by the Central Corentyne and Berbice Chambers of Commerce, the Police Association issued a statement through the law enforcement agency’s Public Relations Department, showing statistics that there has been a reduction in violent crimes.

“Serious crimes in the country have been reduced by 16%. Gun related robberies in Berbice, specifically, have been reduced by 9%, while robberies using other instruments have been reduced by 40% and robberies with violence by 60%,” said the Police Association which represents from Chief Inspectors to Constables.

Declaring that the members of the Central Corentyne and Berbice Chambers of Commerce are an “ungrateful and irresponsible body,” the Police Association urged those two business organisations not to implicate the police force in politically-motivated actions. “The Guyana Police Association is calling on the Central Corentyne and Berbice Chambers of Commerce not to drag the Guyana Police Force into any political conflict, but to seek to give the Force meaningful support in its continuing efforts in the carrying out of its mandate to maintain public safety and security,” the association said.

The Association further charged that that while other civil society and private sector organisations have contributed towards and social and security arrangements, the Central Corentyne and Berbice Chambers have contributed nothing during the past five years.

In apparent reaction to the chambers’ desire for police to use more force against criminals, the Police Association said the “highly motivated” and “professional” police force does not shoot criminals willy-nilly. “Our members see their role in tackling crime as an effort towards crime prevention and the detection of crime as well as the prosecution of criminals in a more efficient way. Our job is not to shoot down people but we are trained to defend ourselves by using force that is necessary.”

The  Chambers, which represent the business community in the opposition People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) stronghold of mainly East Berbice, have attacked Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan and the A Partnership for National Unity+ Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) government for being unresponsive. “The Government’s policy on crime needs a serious overhaul. The government appears weak, soft and sympathetic to criminals, contrast this with the late Presidents’ Hoyte’s no-nonsense and aggressive approach to the ‘kick down the door bandits” in the eighties, President Granger being a historian should go back and study and implement the strategies used by President Hoyte, who on assuming office in the eighties quickly brought the crime spree under control,” the chambers said in a statement.

The Chambers said President David Granger and his government have failed to provide safety and security to all Guyanese. The business organisations recommended that the commissioner, divisional commanders and their deputies urgently put strategies in place and monitor every single police station and outpost in the country to ensure that preventative strategies are put in place, and intelligence is gathered and acted upon.

Registering their extreme disappointment that the coalition has failed to fulfill its campaign promise of improving Guyana’s security landscape with the military, ex-commissioner and other “experts” at their disposal, the Chambers said Berbice is far worse than we have ever experienced. “Everyone seems to be a sitting duck, as it seems every day a business is held up and residents beaten and robbed in their homes, this coupled with the depressed business environment, makes it exceedingly burdensome for businesses and ordinary citizens to cope.” They also expressed concern that Public Security Minister, Khemraj Ramjattan has refused to meet with them immediately because he is busy with preparations for Guyana’s 50th Independence Anniversary.

Similar concerns were expressed by the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) which called on government and the Disciplined Services to address the crime situation ahead of the arrival of overseas visitors for the Jubilee celebration. “It is extremely disturbing that all the support over the years, from both local and international agencies, seems to have done very little to improve the overall effectiveness of the Guyana Police Force in securing the nation.  Clearly, there is an urgent need for a national discussion on the long term capacity of the Force to address the level of crime in Guyana, starting with an increase in foot patrols,” the GCCI said.

The GCCI noted that the business climate could be affected by robberies such as those committed on the Princess Casino, the murder of the two prominent rice farmers- both burnt to death-and numerous other businesses across the country that continue to be documented in our daily newspapers which are regularly viewed by Guyana’s intended overseas guests . “These incidents will loom like a large cloud over our parades and related activities, deter visitors from coming to participate in our celebrations, and can place a damper on lucrative future investment.

  • Emile_Mervin

    Statistics showing a reduction in crime can never provide assurance to a nation that wakes up every morning to news armed robberies, assaults and murders. Just look at the top five stories of the local dailies and Internet news outlets and see for yourselves.

    I don’t know if the criminals who are burning the victims alive are full out demented or they are paid by political handlers to achieve a desired political objective, but statistics are not helping the police force or the coalition government.

    Anyone going home for the 50th must be very confident it is safe to do so.

    • rudeo

      So much for the GPF and its fulfilling its mandate……”ungrateful and irresponsible|”……wow!…..what more arrogance and rudeness to come from the facial orifices of our men in blue/black/khaki?….vote for change….hurrah!

      • SYL

        Vote for change of clothes, because all the politicians are the same in one way or another. The solution is kill the bandits and all abusers of women, once proven. GPF work by rules,although in every law enforcement org. in the world there are crooked ones.

    • SYL

      ROME wasn’t built in a day. How do you expect in less than a year you solve a nation wide problem that stood for at least one decade. When I say “hang them high” people think its cruel , even the human rights org. so let it be the way it is until?????????. Criminals don’t like their blood to be spilled but like to see their victims blood. So the solution is the Cuban or the Arab method , which is deal with them hard, kill the bastards. Don’t they come to kill you? So this soft and sympathetic way is BS. Stop blaming the GPF, they have rules to follow, and if they start a killing spree, then everyone would jump on their back. What you guys want? Hoyte was like Regan, take the bull by the horn. Potential criminals and hard core criminals understands one language “FORCE” if you like it or not. Last week the guy killed his girl friend and threw her in the canal, then went back to work, like he owned her as a piece of property, remedy kill him too, that’s premeditated action. Let him feel the pain like she felt. The priest shall ask him to say a prayer before he is put before the firing squad. You guys keep playing with the bandits, until they come for you too.

      • Emile_Mervin

        I am gonna betcha that in the run up to and during the Jubilee celebrations you will see increased police patrols on the streets, day and night. There will also be stepped of random searches of vehicles and CG motorbikes on the road. If only this could have been the norm from Day 1 (May 11, 2015).

        As for your stance I am expecting too much in less than a year, let me say the coalition had enough time while in opposition to come up with a comprehensive pro-active plan. What we are seeing today…well, the results speak for themselves.

  • basman

    It’s ironic that this article has the below quote.
    “The Government’s policy on crime needs a serious overhaul. The government appears weak, soft and sympathetic to criminals, contrast this with the late Presidents’ Hoyte’s no-nonsense and aggressive approach to the ‘kick down the door bandits” in the eighties, President Granger being a historian should go back and study and implement the strategies used by President Hoyte, who on assuming office in the eighties quickly brought the crime spree under control,”
    The irony is that these same Berbice organizations overwhelming supported the PPPC party and voted the Hoyte government out of office and replaced it with the death squad and phantom squad.
    Now we’re finding out, based on the efficient police work that several high profile crimes were family member hiring hit men to carry out some of the most gruesome and senseless killings on their own parents and grandparents.

    • SYL

      You seem correct with this comment. Ask the opposition leader to go talk to the berbicians .

  • faoud khan

    So there we have it. From the Guyana Police Association they have deduced that due to politically motivated actions, the crime spree in Berbice is not their problem. Well here is my solution to this startling prognosis of the Police:- ALL in Berbice must stop paying their Taxes from which the Police derive their salaries; form their own Militia to protect themselves; apply for devolution and run their own affairs. As Emile said in his comments, those from overseas travelling to Guyana for the 50th celebrations need to take note that if they are going to Berbice they better be prepared to take care of their own personal security. Overseas visitors must do like Naga man and Rum Jhatt and walk with nuff body guards when they visit the Region!