New GPF vehicles not for “joyride” – President Ali

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…hands over 50 new vehicles to Police Force

President Dr Irfaan Ali, on Monday, handed over 50 new vehicles to the Guyana Police Force (GPF) and urged the Police to use the resources at their disposal to crack down on crime and ensure persons can walk the streets safely.

He warned that the Police have to do an “assessment of its capacity to manage these assets and “to find a way that is more reliable, efficiently and less costly that would deliver the results in managing these vehicles. The vehicles provided to the Force must not be used for joyrides, no. The assets being provided to the Force are to boost its capability, its responsiveness and people will judge us by the way in which we care for and use these assets.”

President Dr Irfaan Ali during his feature address at the handing over ceremony (Photo by Office of the President)

In his feature address at the handing over which was held at the GPF sports ground, Eve Leary, Georgetown, President Ali acknowledged that serious crime was a problem. According to him, the Government is cognisant of the crime faced by citizens and urged the Police to do more.

“I am aware of the existing concerns about the incidence of robberies and acts of violence against citizens. I want to urge the Guyana Police Force to take condign actions to bring an end to these criminal attacks and assaults. Citizens must be able to walk the streets unmolested and free from fear…similarly, home invasions must be curbed,” the President said.

The President also spoke of initiatives to foster more trust between the public and the Police, including body cameras. Body cameras were first introduced in local Police patrols in 2019 and their use has since grown. According to the President, the initiative will be expanded.

The new vehicles (Office of the President photo)

“The Force must be capable of withstanding public scrutiny. Of operating in a transparent and open manner. And doing things within the confines of the laws. We must destroy the real and perceived conception and misconception, of the Force out there.”

“Our Police ranks will be provided with additional body cameras to protect them against false and malicious allegations. And to promote greater professionalism on the job. It will also be a good check and balance for the way we conduct ourselves also,” President Ali said.

The 50 pick-ups the Guyana Police Force received on Monday were SsangYong Mussos. In his address, the President urged the Police to take care of the vehicles considering how previous vehicle handovers fared.

“My Government is honouring its pledge to improve your capabilities and conditions of service. We are providing the Guyana Police Force with the tools it needs to improve local policing. In our emergency budget for 2020, we allocated $1 billion for ongoing works at Police stations. In the 2021 budget, the Force has been allocated $15.3 billion, of which $300 million is to be utilised for expanding the Force, land and marine fleet.”

President Ali referenced a previous donation under the former A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government. According to him, those vehicles were not taken care of.

“Today I am pleased to be able to hand over to the Guyana Police Force, 50 new vehicles to help boost its crime fighting efforts. This is yet another tangible expression for my Government’s support for the work of the force. This will improve the Police Force’s mobility and response, which was severely handicapped by the lack of serviceable vehicles,” the President said.

“Four years ago, the People’s Republic of China handed over a fleet of 56 pick-up vehicles, five buses, 35 All-Terrain Vehicles and 48 motorcycles. When my Government assumed office, only 39 of the 140 vehicles were working. With 101 down for repairs, some of which were already unserviceable. This cannot continue.”

The President noted that while the Government is committed to equipping the Force with the resources they need, greater care must be taken of these assets. He noted that “the provision of resources must be accompanied with greater responsibility.”