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Secret recordings to help go after corrupt cops; more surveillance cameras for Georgetown

Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan on the saluting dais taking the salute at a recent route march by the Guyana Police Force.

The Guyana government wants to ‘wire’ civilians to go after bad cops, while at the same time widen video surveillance of most of Georgetown to capture criminals, Public Security Minister, Khemraj Ramjattan announced on Saturday.

Grappling with poor confidence in the Guyana Police Force at a time when there is a spike in crime in the capital city, Ramjattan told New York’s WEEFM Radio that the time has come to get civilians to secretly record purported deals between civilians and members of the police force as part of steps to weed out corrupt members of the police force.

“We got technology now and we can put on a little wire on somebody, go to the policeman and when the policeman start asking for bribe and all of that, we catch them that way and that is now what we got to do,” he said.

The Public Security Minister said members of the police force often deny to him their involvement in corrupt transactions, but he was confident that tape recorders and cameras would assist him in catching the culprits.

Admitting that the number of members of the force would decline as a result of weeding out the bad ones, he said government was committed to paying the Guyana Police Force higher salaries, hiring more qualified persons and more East Indians in keeping with a recommendation by the Disciplined Forces Commission.

Ramjattan said he has been appealing to East Indian Guyanese to join that security service but they appeared unwilling to do so even though they complain a lot about poor police response. “You’ve got to do something to get a better quality of policemen and the last Disciplined Services Commission report also indicated that we must balance the police force and I am pleading with my East Indian brethren and sisteren- join up- but they don’t want to but they will make the calls,” he said.

The Public Security Minister also announced that he was in the process of “tweaking “ a programme to install surveillance cameras “all over Georgetown”  that would be monitored by a command center. He said government has been asking the Inter American Development Bank (IDB) to set aside some of the money from the Citizens Security Programme to fund the command center. “We could literally in a command centre see the entire city…and I think we are going to get there in a couple of months,” he said.

Initially, the first command centre would be established in Georgetown which, he said, accounts for 50 percent of the crimes being committed in Guyana and then there would be another center in Berbice.

Currently, the Guyana Police Force is short of 2,000 persons out of a total complement of 6,000 persons.