The Ministry of Home Affairs acknowledges that it has been haphazard over the reforms recommended in the 2003 Disciplined Forces Commission report and has pledged urgent action this year.
These positions were enunciated by Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee while reporting yesterday on the activities of his ministry for last year.
Rohee said “The Ministry of Home Affairs is cognizant of the fact that its approach has been somewhat haphazard if not delinquent in aggressively ensuring implementation of the recommendations contained in the Disci-plined Services Report that are relevant to the Agencies under its review.
“While we recognize that the recommendations as a whole can be considered as work in progress, at the same time we are of the view that a greater sense of focus and effort is required to ensure that these recommendations are implemented with greater zeal and consistency.
“Moreover, if Police Reform, which has already been initiated on two fronts is to be successful, then the recommendations contained in the Report must be given similar weight and urgency.”
He told the gathering at the police training centre that a similar approach will be taken in respect of reforms to be rolled out at the Guyana Prison Service and the Guyana Fire Service.
Implementation of the recommendations in respect of the Police Complaints Authority will also be given greater attention, Rohee asserted.
“In this regard, I have already written to the Heads of these Agencies alerting them to the fact that 2014 will see these matters as a permanent feature during my regular meetings with them”, Rohee disclosed.
The report had its origins during the crime-ridden days on the East Coast when President Bharrat Jagdeo and opposition leader PNCR Leader Robert Corbin agreed to establish the Disciplined Forces Commission. The commission was given a mandate to begin work on July 1, 2003 to inquire into the Guyana Police Force, Guyana Defence Force, Guyana Prison Service and Guyana Fire Service in order to identify their shortcomings and to recommend remedies to respond to the public safety crisis.
This was done and the commission’s final report was presented to the Speaker of the National Assembly on May 6, 2004. The report was then laid before the National Assembly on May 17 and was accepted unanimously. A select committee was then established in November 4, 2004, with a mandate to report to the National Assembly in four months but this process dragged on for years.
After spending six years before the Special Parlia-mentary Select Committee, the review report of the recommendations made by the Disciplined Forces Commission, was on June 10, 2013 unanimously passed by the National Assembly, prompting Rohee to then predict the continued modernization of the country’s disciplined services.
There has been little progress on the recommendations since.
The DFC, which was sworn in on June 30th, 2003, comprised Justice Ian Chang, attorney Anil Nandlall, former GDF Brigadier David Granger , former attorney general Charles Ramson and Irish human rights activist Maggie Bierne. Bierne resigned subsequently and was replaced by Dr Harold Lutchman.