Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee on Wednesday said that six hand-held breathalyzers have arrived in the country for the Guyana Police Force (GPF).
His disclosure was made in a letter to Stabroek News responding to an editorial in the February 13th edition that had queried how the ministry had not been aware that there were only three functioning breathalyzers in the country when it has issued a press release in January referring to the purchase of 18 of the machines between 2010 and 2013.
In his letter, Rohee said that he was not aware of this situation simply because the GPF never officially brought this deficiency to the attention of the ministry.
“Once a matter of concern to the Guyana Police Force comes to the attention of the ministry, there is usually an immediate response.
“The Traffic Chief has only recently advised that the breathalyzers have malfunctioned and that the parts cannot be replaced”, Rohee said.
He then disclosed that the ministry recently procured six hand-held breathalyzers from Mavelfairs Limited. These devices are now in the country and are currently being cleared to be released by Customs, the minister said. He added that the GPF Capital Budget for 2014 has an allocation for forty breathalyzers.
In the Sunday Stabroek of February 16, Traffic Chief Hugh Denhert had said that the much needed equipment had been listed in the force’s budget every year but not procured. His statement raises a question about the quality of the dialogue between the police force and the ministry on crucial inputs such as breathalyzers.
Rohee had made the disclosure about the three breathalzyers in Parliament two Mondays ago in response to questions from AFC MP Cathy Hughes.
Rohee’s written answer stated that all police divisions were previously issued with breathalyzer kits. However, he said, some have malfunctioned and at the moment the three functioning kits are located at A Division – Georgetown and the East Bank Demerara, B Division – Berbice and D Division – West Demerara.
According to the minister arrangements are being made for an additional 40 breathalyzer kits to be procured pending the approval of the 2014 Budget.