By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee on Wednesday, March 26 came out in full defense of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) as he declared that much of the criticisms unleashed at ranks are unwarranted.
Rohee was at the time speaking at the closing ceremony for the first phase of training for the Special Weapons and Tactics Unit (SWAT).
The Minister told the gathering that that the challenges ranks face in their daily operations is well known to the public as he measured it against the amount of bashing the force receives daily.
On this note he stated “most of the public criticism is unjustifiable, I am not saying this because I have part of it or because I’m a Minister, I’m talking just like every other Guyanese… the criticism unleashed is unwarranted.”
The Minister also lashed out at the media for it reportage, stating that some of the reports seek to blame police unnecessarily and is biased in that regard.
Rohee opined that there are other ways to offer criticism apart from a public outcry, where recommendations and proposals for improvement could be made.
“We welcome constructive criticism, if you believe your criticism has to always be negative then you are not being constructive but destructive,” Rohee said, adding that “this is the burden the police have to carry every day.”
The Minister said what is most unfortunate too is that some of the persons criticizing law enforcement in the public domain are individuals who themselves came from the lofty profession.
The Guyana Police Force as a collective have come under heavy criticism by the media, politicians and the wider society for several acts by individuals and groups of unprofessionalism, disrepute and dishonor that has in many ways stained the origination.
In 2011, 39 ranks were hauled before the courts for various crimes including robberies, simply larceny, bribery and indecent assault.
A recent US State Department Report noted that the low public confidence in the police stemmed from reports of corruption within the police force. The annual report made it clear that the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) which investigates abuse by police force members is not an independent investigative unit.
For 2012 the report added that the Police Complaints Authority received 250 written complaints, 450 oral complaints of which 106 were sent to the body by the Commissioner of Police, Leroy Brumell.
Most of the reports cited dereliction of duties, unlawful arrest and unnecessary use of force. The PCA recommended disciplinary action in 70 of the cases while criminal charges were recommended in five other cases. There were a total of 91 reports which were outstanding at the time the 2013 report was compiled.
The US State Department Report also pointed out that due to the absence of an investigative unit, impartial and transparent assessments of the accusations coming to the PCA were hampered.