Police are powerless to challenge ‘Sindicato’ (Part 2)

first_imgDear Editor,The 2018 Capital Expenditure for the Police Force is $11.5 billion, yet inexpensive necessities such as a few black tanks to store water; a 4-burner gas stove and kitchen utensils needed to cook meals for Police ranks and prisoners are some of the items in demand at the Matthews Ridge and Port Kaituma Police Stations. Yet little is done to improve the quality of life of Police Officers in these rural areas.Also in Matthews Ridge, there is an urgent need to build additional prison cells to accommodate prisoners during court days. At times, Police are forced to house between 18 to 26 prisoners in the two unsecured “lock-ups”, each measuring about five feet by six feet. Even prisoners deserve to be treated with some level ofMembers of the Security Committee and Parliament staff visiting Port Kaituma Police Stationcompassion.Although the Police have knowledge of a number of Venezuelan men working illegally in Region One (Barima-Waini), and organised prostitution rings involving Venezuelan nationals, they lack transportation and language skills to clamp down on these illegal activities.During the briefing, I was surprised to hear the Public Security Minister say, “I hear they gat some fella in the backlands hay does claim that he big, and he’s a big trafficker… and he gat he own boat and so on, and sey Police can’t do he nottin.” Yet Minister Ramjattan failed to ask the Police why is this “big trafficker” allowed to defy the laws of Guyana with impunity. Did the Minister report this to the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), the agency that was set up specifically to deal with organised crimes?My main concern with the news of this organised prostitution ring, is the need to prevent the spread of HIV and other social disease from putting an additional burden on our already fragile health services.A joint task force involving the Police and the Public Health Ministry is needed to address this looming crisis.No official policy decisions have been taken so far to address the problem of non-nationals in the region.The Police station at Port Kaituma is in dire need of a vehicle and a boat with a 200HP engine to patrol the riverine communities to restrict the flow of drugs and other illegal items, as well as to deter crime.At a forum, the Parliamentary Oversight Committee for the Security Sector held with residents before our departure, a businessman described Kumaka as a lawless town. Despite the presence of the Coast Guard, Police, immigration officials and the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) at the port of entry, he claimed that “everything does come into Kumaka to sell. Guns, cocaine, ammunition does be coming in to this port.” He said the Venezuelans are coming here looking for help, but at the same time, “they bringing all sorts of things here to sell.” He urged the Police and the GRA to do “fine checks” to prevent these illegal items from coming into Guyana because as he puts it, “We small community is being destroyed by what is happening here. In the Kumaka area where I live, some nights you can hear shooting.”A call was made to have a Police Station built in Kumaka to ensure a permanent Police presence in this high-crime area. Although Minister Ramjattan agreed that this is necessary, he cited the lack of resources to get this done. He was then informed that the people of Mabaruma are prepared to build a Police outpost at Kumaka. What they are asking is for Government to provide the manpower, vehicles and communication system to manage the outpost effectively.Minister Ramjattan welcomed this as “great news”. One of the concerns expressed by the Minister is the failure to recruit locals into the Force. He made several appeals for Indigenous people to enroll into the Police Service, “We’re still short of about 600 Policemen, but we’re not seeing Amerindians willing to join the Force.”Overall, this was a very successful fact-finding mission that hopefully will soon yield results to alleviate the threats facing our Police Officers in Region One.Sincerely,Harry GillPPP/C Memberof Parliamentlast_img

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