The Guyana Police Force was yesterday presented with communication and transportation equipment to help boost crime fighting efforts in the mining districts, which over the years have fallen victim to criminal elements.
One All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) and two satellite phones with 500 minutes each, worth a total of over $2.5 million, were handed over to Police Commissioner (ag) Leroy Brumell by the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) and the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC). The Ministry of Home Affairs (under which the police falls) and the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment along with the GGMC have been working together to find ways of improving security in the interior.
During a simple handing over ceremony at the commission’s Brickdam office, Dabria Marcus an executive member of the GGDMA told reporters that this initiative was taken after a consultation with Divisional Commander Gavin Primo, during which ideas to improve the security of miners were discussed.
He said that during the discussions, Primo pointed to the lack of resources to effectively tackle the issue.
“As the GGDMA and the mining industry usually do, we embarked on helping the Guyana Police Force execute their duties in providing security for the miners and for the interior locations,” Marcus said, adding that several areas were identified and communication was singled out as one of the most important needs.
He pointed out that this presentation would not be the last as assistance will be offered to the Bartica Police Station in the form of solar panels and an electrical system, to alleviate blackouts.
“This is an effort to work in the interest of the security of the nation and more so the security of the miners,” he said, stressing that his organisation stood ready to assist the police and any other agency that offers services that aids in better mining communities.
Brumell in brief marks pointed out that as a result of the rise in gold prices the interior “has become kind of dangerous”.
He pointed to the fact that unlike the coast, in the interior it could take days to respond to a crime scene. The items being presented, he said, would help the police in the fight against crime.
In the interior area, he said 46 illegal firearms were found and there have been approximately 33 murders for the year so far.
Brumell pointed to the fact that the Divisional Commander has been working hard along with the GGMC and other agencies to make the interior safer.
Meanwhile, natural Resources and the Environment Minister Robert Persaud stated, “as much as we want to celebrate and promote mining we want to ensure that miners can operate in a safe environment.”
He said that at the level of the GGMC board and the ministry, a security committee which was formed has been having regular meetings with the police, the Guyana Defence Force, GGDMA and other stakeholders.
“This issue has been burning and the statistics revealed by the commissioner should give us some cause to worry but also for us to intensify and deepen our efforts in this regard,” he said noting that all should step forward and make a contribution.
According to Persaud, the issue of security in the hinterland is a top priority for the government. He said issues such as setting up of police outposts and the presence of policing groups in mining areas need to be looked at.