…An increase of $4.5B from last years Budget figures
In a move that legitimizes the concerns that have been raised by the business community and citizens alike- that crime in spiraling out of control- Government has allocated in its 2017 Budget $29.1B for the the security sector to tackle crime.
This action on the part of government to invest $4.5B more in the security sector than it allocated last year, is intended to strengthening the Guyana Police Force (GPF) and other security agencies’ capacity, as part of efforts to restore public confidence in the security sector.
Finance Minister, Winston Jordan in his 2017 Budget presentation to the National Assembly stated that “the safety of our people and property and maintenance of public order remains priorities of our government.”
The allocation will see several measures being undertaken to boost the capacity and ability of the GPF to fight crime. These include: “increasing police recruitment by 20 per cent to boost police presence, procurement of vehicles and specialised equipment to improve mobility and response time to reported crimes, expanding patrols in key areas to deter crime, expanding surveillance utilising closed circuit television cameras (CCTVs) at both airports and in the city and strengthening the Office of Professional Responsibility to deal with rogue cops.”
Additionally, the government says it intends to enhance the police’s ability to gather intelligence by expanding the Integrated Crime Information System in 2017. This year, $42M was expended to procure related equipment and network infrastructure to enhance the connection of police stations.
The finance Minister said that the Integrated Crime Information System will be strengthened “to ensure sister agencies such as GRA, CANU and NANA share intelligence to enable the police to coordinate, intercept and detain criminals.”
In 2017, Jordan pledged that 30 police stations in Regions Three, Five, Six and 10 as well as the Georgetown and New Amsterdam Prisons will be connected to the Integrated Crime Information System.
Meanwhile, the Guyana Fire Service (GFS) has been allocated $77.5M for the construction of three new fire stations in the communities of Mahdia, Region Eight, Mabaruma, Region One and Melanie Damishana, Region Four.
Provisions have also been made for the procurement of a fire boat for Port Georgetown at the cost of $250M. The island communities of Leguan and Wakenaam, Region Three have been allocated fire tenders in 2017 at the cost of $49.4M.
Allocations were also made to address overcrowding at the Camp Street Prison, Georgetown.
The sum of $3.96M has been allocated for the expansion of the Mazaruni Prison. Jordan noted that works include “the expansion of offices, inmates’ living facilities, staff and family living facilities, training facilities, as well as the construction of a school, day care centre and places of worship.”