Guyana’s murder “clear-up rate” better than Trinidad and Tobago’s

Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 December 2022, 9:06 by Denis Chabrol

Police Commissioner Clifton Hicken and Head of the Criminal Investigations Department, Deputy Commissioner Wendell Blanhum.

Guyanese police are doing well in detecting murders compared to their counterparts in Trinidad and Tobago, Head of the Criminal Investigations Department, Deputy Police Commissioner  Wendell Blanhum said on Tuesday.

He told the annual departmental awards ceremony that Guyana’s detection rate is at “an all-time high” with 80.3 percent compared to Trinidad and Tobago whose rate is 14 percent. “We are doing well across the Caribbean,” he said.

While Guyana has recorded 122 homicides so far for 2022- the third lowest in 10 years- Mr Blanhum said there have been more than 500 homicides in Trinidad and Tobago for the same period. The Trinidad Guardian on Wednesday reported that there are 590 murders so far for this year.

The Crime Chief also reported that overall there has been a 19 percent reduction in serious crimes in 2022 compared to 2021. He detailed that there were 1,521 serious crimes in 2022 and 2,002 last year.

Home Affairs Minister Robeson Benn hailed the reduction in serious crimes and credited the Guyana Police Force with improved performance rather than mere figures. “The reductions we speak of, of 20 percent year-on-year over two years speak to a dramatic improvement in the quality and the delivery of policing in our country and this ought to be recognised. It is stellar for the Caribbean and other places and we want it to continue to be so,” he said.

He recommended that the police force and the Community Policing Groups further strengthen their intelligence gathering capacity to go after criminals. The Home Affairs Minister asked the police force, especially the police officers, who are now lawyers, to focus on how the force can tackle cyber and financial crimes especially with an influx of large amounts of money into personal and business accounts. “We need now, even while we fight the normal or standard or expected types of crime; we need to develop a multi-skilled, multi-talented approach,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Benn announced that government has bought new equipment for the Guyana Forensics Laboratory to conduct deoxy-ribonucleic acid (DNA) tests to aid in the detection of crimes and confirmation of victims’ identities. “We have paid for the new machine and that we will shortly, within a couple of months after they have done the testing, that we we would be in a position to do our own DNA testing here in Guyana at the Guyana Forensic Laboratory and that we won’t have the time and the wait to get DNA done overseas and maybe we have delay of burials from particular cases where the bodies, the remains are still waiting,” he said.

In the past, Guyana had sent samples to Brazil and other countries for DNA testing.