A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) today called on the People’s Progressive Party/Civic government to introduce, as a matter of urgency, a serious security strategy to protect citizens from criminal violence and to stop playing with labels.
At a press conference today, APNU was responding to the raft of security measures announced on Friday by Minister of Homes Affairs Clement Rohee. APNU lambasted the minister and listed security plans with similar features going all the way back to 2000 which were not implemented by PPP/C governments.
The Partnership accused Rohee, of deliberately avoiding references, in his 31st December 2012 Press Conference, to what it said was the high rate of armed robberies (about 8 per day), smuggling, gun-running, money-laundering, narcotics-trafficking, people-trafficking and piracy among other things.
It said that Rohee’s plan failed to provide assurances that human safety will be enhanced and police performance will be improved.
The statement said in part: “APNU demands that the Capita-Symonds Report – which was handed over to Mr. Rohee 22 months ago, in March 2011, and now forms the basis of the new ‘plan’ – be laid before the National Assembly. It should also be published in the media so that the public could read its contents and assess its relevance to crime fighting and the improvement of the efficiency and effectiveness of the Guyana Police Force.
“APNU points out that there has been no shortage of so-called plans for security sector reform by the PPPC administration over the past 12 years. These efforts, however, have been deliberately derailed and not one of them has been fully implemented. Some of these plans are:
- 2000. The British Department for International Development-funded consultants − Symonds Group Limited − released their report on the Guyana Police Force after reviewing it, between October and November 2000.
- 2002. President Bharrat Jagdeo promulgated a “menu of measures” claiming that they would improve the police force’s crime-fighting capacity. Jagdeo actually went to London to meet the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police to seek British assistance.
- 2003. The British government sent the Defence Advisory Team to Georgetown to conduct a study of the security sector and produce a report which recommended ways in which the Police Force’s capability could be enhanced.
- 2004. The Disciplined Forces Commission, under the chairmanship of Justice Ian Chang, presented its report to the National Assembly containing 164 recommendations for Police Force and other security sector reforms.
- 2005. The British Scottish Police College conducted a series of management training programmes. It presented the Guyana Police Force Strategic Plan in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank as part of the Guyana Citizens Security Programme.
- 2006. British Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Baroness Valerie Amos, and President Jagdeo agreed to a Statement of Principles which formed the basis on which the British Department for International Development proceeded with a fresh consultancy. A new British-funded security sector reform team visited, in October 2006, and integrated various local and foreign initiatives into a holistic strategy. The PPP/C administration instead adopted a Citizen Security Programme which was to be funded by a US$19.8 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
- 2007. British High Commissioner, Fraser Wheeler, and Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr Roger Luncheon, signed an Interim Memorandum of Understanding for a Security Sector Reform Action Plan in August 2007.
- 2009. The British Government decided to abandon the negotiations with the Guyana Government of Guyana for the ₤4.9M Security Sector Reform Action Plan in the face of unprincipled resistance by the PPP/C administration to previously-agreed guidelines contained in the Statement of Principles agreed with Baroness Amos.
- 2010. Mr. Clement Rohee stated at an Inter-American security conference that “Guyana has no desire to have any resident experts in our country at this point in time [nor] …in the not too distant future either…We have enough experts here in Guyana in the police force, in the security sector…So we don’t need a foreign expert to come and tell us… In fact we have already gone a very far way with the reforms so I don’t know what we need an expert to tell us about…when it comes to bringing experts to Guyana for the security sector that is a no go.”
- 2011. The British consultancy firm – Capita-Symonds – presented the final draft of the strategic plan for the modernisation of the Guyana Police Force to the Home Affairs Ministry, on Thursday 29th March 2011.
- 2012. Mr. Clement Rohee made a statement to a Press Conference, on 31st December 2012, outlining recommendations contained in the Capita-Symonds Report.
“A Partnership for National Unity makes it clear that it supports the implementation of a serious security sector reform programme to enhance human safety. The Partnership will not comment on the alleged contents of the Capita-Symonds report until it has had the opportunity to study it.
“The Partnership iterates its previously-stated support for reforms based, essentially, on the recommendations of the Disciplined Forces Commission and the agreed lavish funded Security Sector Reform Action Plan both of which the People’s Progressive Party/Civic administration failed to implement over the past nine years.”