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More police for overseas training to support anti-crime plan- Ramjattan

IN THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY: Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan showing a list of police officers who, he said, had been prevented from pursuing overseas training by the then PPPC government.

Members of the Guyana Police Force will no longer be barred from taking up some overseas training opportunities, as government seeks to re-tool that law enforcement agency for the implementation of a five-pronged anti-crime strategy, according to Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan.

“We then will have to ensure that every one of those training workshops are attended by those senior ranks,” he told the National Assembly in his contribution to the 2015 National Budget debate.

He said the five-point strategy and action plan would involve enhancing police administration, the provision of weekly reports, identification of high incidence areas for targeting with lots more patrols, and police organization and training especially in the Criminal Investigations Department and the improvement of transportation.

He noted that during the People’s Progressive Party Civic’s (PPPC) tenure, then Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee had prevented numerous senior officers from attending overseas training programmes in a range of areas that would have helped to beef up the technical competence and administration of the police force. “You need capacity building as part of that five-point plan. If you start taking away all the scholarships that are being granted to senior ranks so that they can go over there and get some training… what you gonna do?- demoralize them!” he said.

To support his claim, Ramjattan walked with a list of the police officers who were not granted permission to attend those courses. During Rohee’s tenure, he had sent several lists of officers who had gone on overseas training programmes. Courses for which officers were blanked included those on Narcotics Investigation, Data Protection, Drug Commanders Conference, Management of Police Units, Precursor Chemicals, International Policing Women’s Leadership, Anti-Terrorism and Criminal Protection of Transport Infrastructure.

Ramjattan recalled that several officers had had their annual leave of 42 days halved by Rohee in clear breach of the public service rules, and the promotion and assignment of many Cadet Officers had been delayed for quite a while. Back then, Rohee had explained that the reason for splitting the leave was to ensure that there had been sufficient officers on duty at any given time due to the political atmosphere at the then time.

“We also understand that there must be a better police force and better administration of that police force to the extent that police force must not be demoralized and there was evidence of demoralization of that force for a number of years by a number of programmes and practices of certain leadership at the political level too,” he said.

He announced that, largely under the auspices of Canada, the Guyana Police Force would benefit from a two-year training programme that would focus on better crime scene management and the organisation of case files up to the point of testifying in court.

Ramjattan acknowledged that the crime rate was unacceptable but rejected claims by the PPPC that it began spiraling shortly after the May 11, 2015 general and regional elections that saw a change in government for the first time in 23 years.

The Minister also restated that a two-month gun amnesty would begin on September 1. “We are going to ask them ri bring I their gins because there are too much guns out there,” he said.

He restated that an Inter American Development Bank-funded Citizen Security Programme has been “tweaked” to expand the number of closed circuit television surveillance cameras across Georgetown where 50 percent of crimes are committed.