Govt has ‘abysmally failed’ with crime fighting – PPP

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The Peoples Progressive Party (PPP) says that the incumbent Administration has abysmally failed in its crime fighting strategy as, they note that, many Guyanese are dying at the hands of bandits.

According to the PPP, the lack of any crime strategy is further compounded by Government’s posture which “sometimes demonstrates support for the criminals and on other occasions, its position can be described, at best, to be ambivalent. The pardoning of criminals, the instructions to Police Officers not to shoot at bandits, the condemnation of citizens who defend themselves against bandits and the failure of this Government to commiserate with the victims of crime, cumulatively, send the wrong signals.”

The party posits that Government must implement a crime fighting/ crime prevention strategy to immediately tackle crime.

See full statement below:

At our last Congress held in Essequibo, December last year, a resolution was passed that we undertake a number of initiatives to bring attention to the horrendous crime situation in the country. We begin this process now.

After nearly two years in office, this Government has abysmally failed to come up with any crime fighting strategy, whatsoever. Having regard to the fact, that the Cabinet is comprised of a number of persons trained in the area of national security, who have held top positions, both in the Defence and the Police Force, this is one area in which the citizens expected this Government to demonstrate a minimum of competence.

Instead, the crime situation gets worse with each passing day. And all the Nation sees is the blundering incompetence of Minister Khemraj Ramjattan and a Police Force, paralyzed by mixed signals from the President and other members of the executive, which seems to favour criminals.

Significantly, when we the PPP/C Government left office, it left in place comprehensive crime fighting programs with the requisite financial support from International Financial Institutions.

Our Government had begun to implement most of the strategies and components of the very embracing Citizen’s Security Program. As a result of ministerial incompetence, this Plan seems to be in complete disarray. This Plan was conceived and designed by experts and contained various components which targeted for participation, a number of important Agencies of State, amalgamating them as part of the crime fighting machinery of the State.

An important component is to design, develop and implement an integrated crime information system to support the Ministry of Home Affairs in creating a comprehensive and up to date Integrated Crime  Information  System (ICIS) which would have been easily shared with the use of modern technology.

It is intended that this database would have been merged with others within the governmental architecture to provide complete profiles of perpetrators and victims. The Plan contemplates a collaborative working relationship with the Justice System and the construction of data management centers throughout the Country.

This very comprehensive program provides for specific strategic plans for the Police Force, the Prisons and other agencies. A Special Weapon and Tactics (SWAT) Team, was supposed to be assembled. The multi-million dollar forensic lab was supposed to become functional. A strategic plan for Neighborhood Police and Community Policing should have been implemented. The National Drug Strategy Master plan which was being implemented under the PPP/C Government seemed to have been abandoned by this Administration.

Therefore, this Administration cannot claim that there is a paucity of strategies and crime fighting plans within the Government.

This Government is not only failing to implement that which they inherited, but they have abjectly failed to come up with any plan of their own.

In fact, it is difficult to assess where the Government stands on this crucial matter of crime. The Government’s posture sometimes demonstrates support for the criminal and on other occasions, its position can be described, at best, to be ambivalent. The pardoning of criminals, the instructions to Police Officers not to shoot at bandits, the condemnation of citizens who defend themselves against bandits and the failure of this Government to commiserate with the victims of crime, cumulatively, send the wrong signals.

The cutting of the budget of the DPP Office and the continuous undermining and emasculation of the independence of that Office, coupled with the Government’s interference with constitutional and statutory bodies, like the Police Service Commission and the Police Complaints Authority, continue to exacerbate the situation.

Instead of implementing the plethora of crime fighting and crime prevention strategies which are already with the Government and enacting more legislation  to deal with real criminals, this Government’s emphasis is on assembling special prosecutors and fast-tracking the SARA Bill which will be used to target not just political opponents but the business community.

We must highlight that over the last two years, we are unaware of any serious criminal investigations done by SOCU. But we are aware, that law abiding citizens in the business community and persons who have served in the last Government are being harassed, intimidated and persecuted on a daily basis by SOCU. In the meanwhile, crime continues to spiral out of control with no sensible response emanating from the Government.

We say in very clear and unequivocal language, the Government must unfold, immediately, a crime fighting/ crime prevention strategy, now! Too many of our citizens are dying at the hands of bandits

We take this opportunity to extend our deepest condolences to all those whose loved ones have perished at the hands of the criminals and our sympathies to every victim of crime. The PPP family stands in solidarity with you and yours during your period of grief. We pledge to continue our struggle to make our country a safe place for all of our citizens.

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