By Fareeza Haniff
[www.inewsguyana.com] – The ability of Home Affairs Minister, Clement Rohee to execute his duties of overseeing the security of the country has once again being called into question by the main Opposition – A Partnership for National Unity (APNU).
Opposition Leader, David Granger told a news conference today, Friday November 28 that the public security situation in Guyana has deteriorated drastically since Rohee’s appointment as General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and his assumption of duties as his party’s elections campaign manager.
According to Granger, the Home Affairs Minister “seems to have much to say about correcting the list of electors and criticising the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) at the PPP’s weekly press conferences as general and regional and local government elections approach. He has a lot less to say, however, about his efforts to correct the daily abuses committed by rogue policemen in the GPF or about the deteriorating security situation which concerns most Guyanese.”
This is not the first time that the Opposition has spoken against Rohee; they moved a No Confidence Motion against him in the National Assembly in 2012, preventing him from speaking in the House.
Following his appointment as General Secretary of the ruling PPP, he came in for more criticisms and calls were mounted for his resignation as Home Affairs Minister.
“Mr. Rohee seems to have put his Party’s elections prospects before human safety and public security. It is no surprise, therefore, that there has been an alarming deterioration in police morale and behaviour and an escalation in the rate of violent crime. Armed robbery, murder, suicide, rape, road and river deaths, piracy and other forms of inter-personal violence are rampant,” Granger said today.
He further noted that the Guyana Police Force, for which Rohee has ministerial responsibility, is facing serious challenges.
Reference was made to the inadequate resources of the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) and the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), which investigate allegations of misconduct against members of the Force.
It was pointed out that several policemen have had to be charged for criminal behaviour before the civil courts, while others have faced moderate, internal disciplinary sanctions as a result of misdemeanors reported to the PCA and OPR.
Complaints of offences range from attempting to pervert the course of justice, illegal possession of arms and ammunition, inflicting grievous bodily harm, larceny, murder, rape and trafficking in persons.
Other complaints against the Police, made particularly to the PCA, have been about policemen acting in a manner likely to bring discredit to a member of the Force; corrupt transactions; illegal searches; lack of civility to a member of the public; neglect of duty unlawful arrest; the use of unnecessary force and, most gravely, unlawful killings.
“Mr. Rohee, if he cannot do two jobs – public security and political campaigning – should do one, preferably the latter,” Granger told Reporters.
Meanwhile, Former Police Commissioner and now Shadow Home Affairs Minister of the APNU, Winston Felix said the situation facing the Police Force has to do with the lack of leadership from the Home Affairs Ministry.
“The Minister doesn’t see it fit to give leadership where it is needed,” Felix said, as he also pointed out the increase in crime among youths and in schools.
Felix believes that the Home Affairs Minister should hold Police Commissioner (ag), Seelall Persaud accountable for the misconduct of the Force.