Govt will address root causes of crime – Jagdeo

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Vice President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo

There are many factors behind crime and according to Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo, the Government plans to deal with the root causes of crime in a way that will reduce recidivism or criminals reoffending.

Jagdeo spoke on this issue during a broadcast interview with a social media commentator, where he noted the importance of reducing recidivism. Pointing out the rate at which criminals reoffend, Jagdeo said that society would benefit tremendously if they can even cut that rate in half, by giving these criminals the skills to earn an honest dollar and educating them.

“Apart from the tough law enforcement reform, prison reform is next in line. So we are building three safe, decent prisons at Lusignan that can accommodate a thousand prisoners. That means we can practically move most of our prisoners to Lusignan. We are putting money aside to build a prison for women, but in another part of Lusignan.”

“So, we have an entire compound. We plan to do recreational facilities there, a school there that you have to, once you become a prisoner, you have to go to school. It’s compulsory. Then we’ll build a training school so that people can learn a skill. We are going to take rehabilitation seriously.”

He also acknowledged the importance of keeping children away from harmful influences. This is a particular risk in single parent homes or in homes where the single parent is often away working to make a living and is unable to provide parental guidance to their child.
“They then fall prey to a lot of bad influence. So how do we use civil society to be there to guide these kids when they need the guidance? How do we occupy them in sports and other ventures so that we can chart a different path?” he questioned.

“When they come to the crossroad of having to make a decision whether you go the crooked path or the straight path, then someone is there to help them. We have to work on that. Then there are lots of people, particularly at the lower end, who commit crime because they’re hungry.”

Here Jagdeo referred to the People’s Progressive Party’s (PPP) aggressive push to create jobs, including through the US$900 million gas-to-shore project, the other projects coming onstream including the construction of deep-water ports, the reopening of the sugar factories and the massive construction boom driven by Government policies and its drive to build thousands of houses for Guyanese.

Hardened criminals

Jagdeo noted, however, that there are a cadre of criminals who are beyond reformation, having fallen prey to the lure of crime. The Vice President made it clear that these hardened criminals will be dealt with forcefully.

“There are some criminals, even with a job you wouldn’t be able to influence them. Because it’s a lure of crime and the lucrative nature is too great. And those you have to deal with condignly. Forcefully.”

“But outside of that, there are lots of people that we can work on. Communities, young people, giving others more jobs. And that is why job creating initiatives are so important to us. Even with this pandemic we have been working heavily on putting people back to work,” he said.

The Vice President also said that contrary to what is being peddled by the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC), the PPP has not embarked on any campaign to fire coalition supporters from the public sector.

“Since the PPP got into office, I doubt we have terminated a thousand persons from employment. And in the public sector. But they put in nearly 15,000 persons in public sector employ, in just five years,” Jagdeo said.

“We could have easily come in and said, a lot of these people are political appointments, move them out. But we want to make sure that transitions take place, people have employment, they can go somewhere else.” [Reposted from Guyana Times]