Police reforms are not comprehensive

Dear Editor,

Decades of government failure to provide effective police for the people is nothing new. With much fanfare the government had rejected substantial UK funding to train Guyana’s police force in 2009. Government then went on the attack and accused the UK of interfering and trampling on its sovereignty and its internal affairs. “The British government defended its decision to withdraw assistance for a joint £4.9M security sector project, saying the latest proposal by the Government of Guyana (GoG) moves away from comprehensive reforms originally requested” (SN, October 29, 2009).

The UK was left with no option but to withdraw the funding and give it elsewhere. Guyana was then left mired in serious crimes, and violence, murders and rapes increased.

However, the misguided government is still dogmatically resisting any comprehensive police reforms. It is now tinkering with security “administration, succession planning, integrity/probity and public relations/communications” to fool the public.  This has nothing to do with the crucial lack of police training and accountability concerning people on the ground and it does not compensate for proper police training. However, Guyana taxpayers are once again forced to pay for a service that is not rocket science to anyone else, except to an inept Guyana government.

Taxpayers will now have to foot the bill for $25M for a ‘six-weeks’ consultancy from a UK firm on security. “GINA said that the contract, valued US$129,750 or approximately $25M, is expected to last about four to six weeks, focusing on administration, succession planning, integrity/probity, and public relations/communications.” (SN, January 28).   This serves to widen the chasm between government policy and the greater need for security and public protection.

Yours faithfully,
Mac Mahase

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