Acting Commissioner of Police David Ramnarine posited that with increased multiple training opportunities both locally and overseas, particularly capability and capacity building in the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), serious crimes are no longer committed with impunity and in fact, in a matter of hours and days, they are being solved.
Ramnarine made those remarks when he and senior officers of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) meet with Executive Members of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry( GCCI) at the Commissioner ‘s Conference Room on Wednesday and discussed matters related to crime and traffic, matters of mutual interest/concern and areas for potential collaboration/cooperation.
During the meeting, the Top Cop gave an overview of the crime and traffic situation and outlined that “at this point in time there is a 10% decrease in serious crimes overall from January 1,2018 to May 31,2018 compared with the same period last year…in A Division “(Georgetown and its environs including East Bank Demerara), there was a 13% decrease in serious crimes for the same comparative period.”
The Top Cop, according to a release, also indicated that in respect of the traffic situation, “it is still evident and alarmingly so that speeding, drunk driving and in-attentiveness are the main contributory factors to fatal accidents with pedestrians being the most vulnerable category of road users.”
Despite the sentiments expressed by the Acting Top Cop, a 2018 U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory, has assessed Georgetown as being a critical threat location for crime.
According to the report, criminal activity continues to be a major issue.
It was outlined that armed robberies, including carjackings, occur regularly, especially in businesses and shopping districts. Moreover, armed robberies of business/patron establishments occur frequently in Georgetown.
“While criminals regularly use weapons, despite a rigorous licensing requirement to own firearms. Handguns, knives, machetes, or cutlasses tend to be the weapons of choice. Criminals may act brazenly, and police officers have been both victims and perpetrators of assaults and shootings. Criminals are increasingly willing to resort to violence while committing all types of crimes. Criminals are often organized, travel in groups of two or more, and conduct surveillance on their victims. Criminals generally will not hesitate to show multiple weapons as an intimidation tactic during a robbery.”
Addressing the Police response to the crimes, the report also outlined that “the Guyana Police Force (GPF) has resource and manpower limitations that inhibit its ability to deter or respond to criminal activity. Even on the occasions when the GPF responds to a crime scene, victims are asked to go to the nearest police station to file a report and complete other investigative formalities. Confidence in the GPF is low due to the public’s perception of heavy handedness, ineffectiveness, and corruption.”
The report says that while the fire department generally provides a timely response, the “police response, especially during the night, is less dependable. The police response to emergency calls is often slow (15+ minutes) or not at all.”
According to the 2018 report, “Corruption is widely perceived to be commonplace within many government agencies. Police officers often are reportedly paid off by criminal elements and are alleged to work with criminals by either assisting or protecting them. The judicial system is strained by limited resources and often influenced by threats/bribes. Defendants linked to drug organization often use attorneys who are effective in getting cases dismissed or postponed; as a result, criminals go free on a regular basis.”