The Private Sector Commission (PSC) is calling on the government to come out and acknowledge the spiraling increase in guns crimes plaguing the citizenry and businesses alike.
The PSC asserted that it shares in the “deeply felt national concern of every citizen over the inability of the State to generally protect our citizens from widespread gun inspired crimes threatening their well being and safety…we believe that each and every one of our ordinary citizens feel threatened, regardless of where they happen to be, whether in the street, their workplace or in their homes, are under threat each day from violent gun related crimes.”
The PSC said that two weeks ago through its Sub-Committee on Security it met with the Public Security Minister, Khemraj Ramjattan, to express their concerns.
“We were told that, in fact, according to the reported crime statistics, there has been a 16% reduction in serious crime this year compared with last. He confirmed, however, that criminal access to guns coming in to Guyana, mainly from Brazil, is an increasing threat and remains a challenge because of the extent of our borders. He noted that the Police Force remains understaffed by some 1,000 and more personnel” said the PSC.
However, the PSC noted that the 911 national emergency call system, which is essential for a citizen under criminal threat to be able to request a police response, is simply not functioning. The body said that since 2010 they have been articulating for the system to be fixed.
According to the PSC at their behest in 2015, the then Ministry of Home Affairs convened a panel of communications specialists to address the problem and a comprehensive report with specific recommendations was submitted to government. However, “to date, these recommendations have not been implemented. The country, therefore, remains without an essential police emergency response system available to its citizens.”
Given this growing concern among the population about their safety, the PSC said it wishes to urge the Government of Guyana and the Guyana Police Force to consider acknowledging “publicly that we have a problem with crime in Guyana, it is the only way we can start to address the issue, once all parties can acknowledge that a problem persists and start demanding collaboration across the board.”
“we encourage the President of Guyana, the Government Ministers and all stakeholders to send a strong signal to criminals that crime will no longer be tolerated…Our citizens are traumatized by fear of almost every day having a gun pointed at them with criminal intent. Our businesses, our banks, our tourism industry and our everyday lives are under threat. This is not the good life. It is time that our President intervene” said the PSC.
Additionally the Commission is encouraging all stakeholders, including the Government, police, judiciary and civil society to review the sentencing of persons charged with armed and violent robberies, to ensure that these charges are not subject to bail and that they are subject to appropriate sentencing which should be handed down by all magistrates.
The PSC said that it is imploring the President of Guyana and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces to publicly give the orders for “our men and women in uniform to bring some order and control with respect to these criminal gangs and individuals terrorizing the Guyanese community.”
According to the PSC “while we commend the Minister and the Commissioner of Police for the recent reduction in serious crime, our country, nevertheless, remains unprotected from guns flowing across our borders into the hands of violent criminals virtually without restraint. Our country remains with a Police Force which is inadequately staffed, insufficiently trained and under equipped to meet the challenge.”