By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Opposition Leader David Granger has again expressed alarm at the rising rate of violent crimes in Guyana; observing that data in relation to suicide, rape and other deaths (river and piracy) are not usually made available.
He criticized the Guyana Police Force (GPF) in this regard. The GPF has been consistent in disseminating monthly reports on serious and other crimes and traffic offenses in the country but have failed to reveal statistics in relation to suicide and rape.
The Opposition Leader believes journalists must also apply pressure on the Force to ensure that such information is fed to the populace.
“I am of the view that when journalist go to these press briefings they must ask searching questions of the police, ask them to report on suicide, deaths by piracy and if they don’t report then say they could not report,” Granger said.
He added “The Police must report on all the data that surround these violent crimes so we don’t have to guess. We must know how many rapes have been reported and how many persons have died and not do our own calculations.”
According to Granger, the police must provide a full statement every month to the media, something that is not happening presently.
Granger said while the GPF occasionally releases partial statistics on violent crimes, the President and Minister of Home Affairs have been silent too on the current surge in violent crimes over the period Jan – Sept 2014.
Yesterday, Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr. Roger Luncheon, while challenging recent reports in the media on Guyana’s suicide rate, said there continue to be calls at Cabinet for the raw numbers to be released but those calls have not been unanimous.
Meanwhile, Former Police Commissioner Winston Felix told the news conference this morning that he supports the Leader of the Opposition even as he too called for the raw data in relation to rape and suicide to be made public.
“I think we [the police] have come a long way. The police have not been accustomed to revealing the sort of information they are revealing now, the organization has grown but probably not as rapidly as the public would expect,” Felix added.
He said the information that is being provided now was not being done prior to 1992, “so even at the managerial levels your Editors and so should interact with the Commissioner and develop an understanding of the need for data to be put in the public domain.”
Efforts to secure a comment from the Police Commissioner (ag) Seelall Persaud proved futile.