Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan on Friday commissioned the new $117M two-storey Mackenzie Police Station, which will also serve as the headquarters of ‘E’ Division, Upper Demerara-Upper Berbice.
The commissioning of the building also comes with the appointment of a new commander to the division, Senior Superintendent Linden Lord, who at a simple ceremony received the ceremonial keys from Minister Ramjattan.
The new building is part of the $1.8B Guyana Police Force’s (GPF) remodelling programme made possible by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) through its Citizens’ Security Strengthening Programme (CSSP). The rehabilitation of eighteen other police stations is being funded under the CSSP.
The new Mackenzie Police Station has facilities that will allow for better witness protection and confidential handling of domestic violence and other sensitive cases. There is also a fully automated case management room, a spacious waiting room and a training room for ranks.
Minister Ramjattan urged that the building be used for its purpose, which is to provide service to the residents.
He noted that the modern design adopted for the rehabilitation of the buildings, “support the notion of putting victims and witnesses first.”
He observed that degraded conditions of the police buildings, resulted in degraded performances and “that is why we want to improve, upgrade, ameliorate all police stations in the country and we are on that journey.”
Commissioner of Police, Leslie James said that the GPF is very appreciative of the strides taken by the political administration in ensuring the improvement of standards within the force. The commissioner also lauded the government’s commitment to ensuring that the citizenry is safe in their communities.
Country Manager of the IDB, Sophie McKinnon noted that the IDB will continue to support institutional capacity building and citizen security through the effective prevention of crime and violence.
The physical appearance of a police station is important, she said, since it affects the sense of security of community members.
McKinnon expressed pleasure that the new police stations will more effectively tackle gender-based violence and that these victims can now report their cases in confidentiality.
Giving an overview of the CSSP, Dr. Clement Henry said that the overall aim is to strengthen capacity with the force and the community at large.
The programme has three components; improving community resilience in responding to crime, strengthening the capacity of the GPF to detect and prevent crimes and the rehabilitation and the reintegration of inmates into society by the Guyana Prison Service (GPS).
Twelve police stations have already been completed under the programme. These include Kwakwani, Annai, Aishalton, La Grange, Cane Grove, Suddie, Mabaruma and Port Kaituma. Some of the buildings rehabilitated in 2018 include the Parfait Harmony, New Amsterdam, Lethem and Mathew’s Ridge Police Stations.