* Berbice businessmen slam Govt for ‘failing miserably’ to protect citizens
“Government seems powerless, ineffectual, and out of their league in fighting crime,” according a blistering statement from businessmen in Berbice.
The statement this afternoon from the Central Corentyne Chamber of Commerce (CCCC), in conjunction with the Berbice Chamber of Commerce, accused President David Granger and his APNU/AFC coalition government of “failing miserably” to provide security and protection for the Guyanese people.
“It is extremely disappointing as the coalition (APNU/AFC) campaigned very strongly on this issue and we were all optimistic with all the military, ex-commissioner and other ‘experts’ at their disposal and now we have a situation in Berbice that is far worse than we have ever experienced,” the businessmen charged.
“Everyone seems to be a sitting duck, as it seems every day a business is held up and residents beaten and robbed in their homes. This, coupled with the depressed business environment, makes it exceedingly burdensome for businesses and ordinary citizens to cope,” the businessmen said in their statement.
They also bluntly declared that “President Granger and the government has miserably failed the people of this country to provide protection and security.”
“We need the commissioner, divisional commanders and their deputies to urgently put strategies in place and monitor every single police station and outpost in the country to ensure that preventative strategies are put in place, and intelligence gathered and acted upon. The only exception to the above is the performance of the Crime Chief who has to be commended for his successes.”
The CCCC said the Government’s policy on crime needs a serious overhaul. “The government appears weak, soft and sympathetic to criminals, contrast this with the late Presidents’ Hoyte’s no-nonsense and aggressive approach to the ‘kick down the door bandits’ in the eighties, President Granger being a historian should go back and study and implement the strategies used by President Hoyte, who on assuming office in the eighties quickly brought the crime spree under control,” the CCCC posited.
It noted that instead of giving full support and trying to motivate the police, Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan started his reign in “a very high-handed and arrogant manner”, by fighting with and demoralising the police.
“Publicly chiding them for damaged vehicles, threatening to charge them for murder in shooting incidents, and then having to fund their own defense. Now the police are so uncertain and scared to shoot that recently a police was almost killed by a bandit in Rose Hall in the presence of their armed colleagues. Taken in context with President Granger’s insistence on pardoning criminals, it is no surprise that gun crimes have spiraled out of control. Bandits have become more emboldened by the Government’s approach,” the businessmen argued.
“The present security minister, who we strongly believe, will not be able to support and motivate the force is too busy preparing for the jubilee celebrations than meet with the chamber, at our request to discuss the present situation (see letter below). He wants us to do his work for him. We must document what we feel he should do in the present situation and send it to him, instead of his coming to us to hear what we have to say and see if any of it can be implemented. Since we have to wait over one month to get a meeting with The Minister, let the public be the judge of his Priorities,” the CCCC stated.
It noted that at a meeting yesterday afternoon (April 27, 2016) with Members of the Central Corentyne and the Berbice Chambers, “members expressed great disappointment and anger with Minister Ramjattan’s emphasis on Guyana’s jubilee celebrations rather than on his portfolio”.
“Members felt insulted by his reply to the chamber seeking a meeting on crime as it appears that the daily held up businesses, residents beaten and terrorised in their homes have become the new norm and it is business as usual for him and he seems unaware of the ‘prevailing’ crime situation in Berbice,” the businessmen lamented.
“During the meeting, the following matters were discussed but we felt, since Mr Ramjattan is too busy to reach with us, he can read it in the press.”
1. What is the Minister’s plan for crime, if he has one?
- Is the Honourable Minister unaware of the crime situation in Berbice?
3. What are the specifics of that plan in relation to Berbice?
4. Low morale and loss of confidence in the Police force.
- The Police are afraid or unwilling to shoot at, or engage bandits in armed confrontations
even when the lives of their fellow officers are in peril.
6. Lack of employment especially among the youths.
7. Lots of drug houses.SUGGESTIONS:
1. Quick response teams to be located in Berbice
2. Permanent SWAT teams in Berbice
3. Government unconditional support for our Policemen and Women
4. Increase in salary
5. Pay salaries on time
6. Increase police patrol
7. Rose Hall Town police outpost should be converted to a police station
9. Police need more man-power and vehicles
10. More training and Education for the Guyana Police Force
11. Explore the possibility of CCTV cameras
12. Duty-free concession for security equipment.
Following is the reply from Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan to the Central Corentyne Chamber of Commerce:
- Ministry of Public Security <[email protected]>
- Apr 22 at 9:09 AM
Dear Ms. Welcome,
Could you kindly seek from the Chamber’s members what specific matters about the “prevailing” crime situation in Berbice” they are intimating here. If they could identify same I certainly will be on a better position to address and answer their concerns.
Additionally, I would like them to put forward some suggestions of their own to meet these exact concerns.
I am going to be available only after the Jubilee Celebrations to meet them. I am extremely busy at this time as you know. I hope you appreciate my unavailability.
Vice President and Minister of Public Security