By Jomo Paul
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Vice President and Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan transformed the National Assembly into his personal arena on Wednesday night, August 19 when he took on ‘propaganda’ being peddled about the security sector and his plans for the sector.
Scheduled to be the last speaker of the night, the Vice President frontally attacked the assertion that since the APNU+AFC government ascended to office after May 11, the crime rate has skyrocketed.
He told the House that the crime rate, while it may be higher than 2014, began to escalate since February of 2015, something which he says the now People’s Progressive Party (PPP) opposition refuses to accept.
“The impression being given by the Opposition, (is that when we) came into office – we are the ones that started this high crime rate…it was growing since February long before we came into government,” said the Vice President.
Ramjattan made it clear that while the administration has a plan to effectively handle the issue, it is not something that can be done overnight.
“This crime rate is a not a T20 cricket, this is a test match…it will take some time before the crime rate goes down,” said Ramjattan. He pointed to the recently imposed 2 am close off time for bars and night clubs, noting that while some persons have rejected the idea, it is actually working with a large number of persons actually favouring the initiative.
He then outlined a 5-point plan that would be implemented by the government to tackle the crime situation, which would involve police reorganization and training, more police deployment and the use of Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras.
“We are gonna have over 100 CCTV in and around the city and a command centre…so we can see the city during the course of the day,” he told the House.
“It is around the city where fifty percent of the crimes are being committed. This (the cameras) will be assisted by a command centre, outfitted with televisions which will allow the police to see the entire city, as to what is happening.”
Ramjattan is convinced that this step should be taken as the current CCTV cameras that are installed, were instrumental in securing conviction of hundreds of people who had driven dangerously or carelessly on the city roadways.
The CCTV cameras will be supported by the necessary infrastructural work, which will see a conference room being made available, for the consistent monitoring of the cameras.
Minister Ramjattan also announced that a gun amnesty period would commence from September 1, as a measure to reduce the number of illegal firearms in the public domain. This will be supplemented with the enhancement of police administration, the deployment of ranks, and re-organization and training in the Criminal Investigation Department.