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911 Emergency phones operational by early 2017, says Public Security Minister Ramjattan

Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan

Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan expects the 911 Emergency numbers will be functioning effectively by early 2017, with some 12 officers to be trained for work on a shift system.

Some $250M was allocated in budget 2017 for equipment for the Guyana Police Force, an allocation which prompted Opposition MP Juan Edghill to question whether the 911 service will benefit, and further ask how soon.

Ramjattan said the phones would have to be set up in collaboration with the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GTT), the only landline provider in Guyana.

In 2014, a blame-game had ensued between GTT’s management and the Guyana Police Force over the ineffectiveness of the 911 emergency numbers. The Police Commissioner, Seelall Persaud, felt in 2014 that the problem was technical on the side of GTT, rather than human on the side of the Police Force.

GTT, on the other hand, had released a statement in 2014 calling out the police for the less than satisfactory responses to 911 calls.

The phone company had said that year there were handsets which had disappeared at the 911 receiving stations, and in some cases, handsets were taken off the hook or the phones were not answered by personnel during standard working hours.

Opposition MP Clement Rohee, while he was Home Affairs Minister for the PPP government in 2014, laid blame at the feet of the phone company saying the company was dodging responsibility.

Public Security Minister Ramjattan had committed in July of this year to have the 911 Emergency numbers functioning since it was a troubling problem for the government that the 911 Command Centre was defunct.