375 youths were incarcerated within the last year and a half – Top Cop

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Acting Police Commissioner Clifton Hicken and Deputy Commissioner “Administration” (ag) Calvin Brutus, along with other officials at the meeting (GPF Photo)

– meets with AmCham to collaborate on youth development

Acting Commissioner of Police Clifton Hicken and senior members of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) on Thursday met with representatives of the American Chamber of Commerce of Guyana (AmCham Guyana) with the aim of building partnership and encouraging Police-private sector collaboration, especially in the area of youth development.

During the meeting, Hicken expressed optimism that this partnership will aid the vision of GPF and create an atmosphere where other members, associations, and corporate units will come on board in assisting the Force in its long-term vision.

“In this phase of our lives, being mature already, it may be difficult to change the way we think but we are preparing the next generation that will grow up to understand that the Police are an integral and important part of the community,” Hicken asserted.
This partnership will help in the overall effort and commitment to mould and shape the future of our youths.

The Top Cop, a passionate advocate and champion of youth development, especially in vulnerable communities across Guyana, alluded to the plans and programmes that the Guyana Police Force has for youths – who are our future leaders.

He also encouraged Rajendra Singh and Matthew Phang – the AmCham representatives, to sell the vision of the Police Force, especially as it relates to community development and the creation of training and other opportunities for youths.

He added that within the last year and a half, approximately 375 youths were sent to prison in Guyana. “So if every year we put 375 youths in the prisons, then who will lead in the future?” Hicken questioned.

Discussions on youth development

He highlighted this to draw a nexus between what currently obtains and what the GPF is trying to achieve in terms of youth development and giving them a chance to have a better life and stay away from drugs and crime.

“This is not idle rhetoric and politics…this is caring for people genuinely out of concern for the stability of this country and understanding that we are on the cusp of real growth and major development. I say this passionately because I really believe we need to harness those vulnerable youths and school dropouts and channel them properly and this is exactly what we are doing as an organisation.”

Deputy Commissioner “Administration” (ag) Calvin Brutus, also emphasised the importance of youth development and went on to provide the AmCham representatives with a “needs assessment list” as well as an outline of the programmes that the Guyana Police Force intend to roll out as it relates to youth development, sports and youth empowerment.

Some of the focus areas that the Guyana Police Force will be targeting, in terms of youth development, are life skills, computer repairs, computer training, youth camps, a Cadet scheme, the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) programme, and the resuscitation of Scout and Youth Groups in every community.

According to Brutus, educational and capacity-building programmes will also be offered in a targeted way to vulnerable youths and young adults in a bid to mitigate against crime and provide a better life for the next generation.

Also present at the meeting was Lashaun Williams, a representative of the North Ruimveldt Multilateral Secondary School who is keen to partner with the GPF in training, specifically in the area of home economics and teaching vulnerable youths how to cook with the aim that they might be able to not just learn a life skill but also earn an income.

Sheryar Hussain of the New York Police Department (NYPD) and a member of the Guyanese American Law Enforcement Association (GALEA), was also present at the meeting, and has pledged assistance to the Force in the areas of body cameras and traffic wands.

Prior to the meeting, he had presented 20 sports uniforms (cricket) to the Guyana Police Force.