Rohee awaiting expert report on 911 emergency system

Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee is awaiting a report from two overseas 911 Emergency reform consultants from the United States, who were here last week reviewing the 911 emergency system.

Speaking at the PPP weekly press briefing at Freedom House, he said the consensus has been that instead of having separate emergency lines for police, fire and ambulance the response should be consolidated. Rohee said that “the complaints were numerous and therefore we couldn’t just sit on our hands and do nothing about it, apparently we don’t have the capacity… at the national level to correct this deficiency and so I thought it was necessary to bring persons from outside.”

He said that the US$20,000 consultancy contract was fostered though another Caribbean country and the proposal to have a single emergency number was considered but not agreed upon as yet.

Rohee said the defects of the system were well documented and the report from the consultants would underline how to effectively move forward. Rohee did not delve into the specifics of what exactly the experts reviewed while in Guyana and said that they spent four or five days travelling visiting various police station and consulting with various stakeholders.

The failures of Guyana’s 911 emergency service have been well documented. In sum, most complaints have been about persons assigned to work the post failing to answer calls.  In December, Rohee had stated that he was “fed up” of the “poor performance” and that measures needed to be taken to revamp the current system.

He had stated that the Guyana Police Force was adequately staffed to provide personnel to man the 911 line and ventured into the possibility that the poor performance could be due to technical problems. The Guyana Fire Service’s Emergency Line, 912, which is answered at the Stabroek Market Fire Station, has been the most consistent of the three lines. 911, reserved for police emergencies and 913 which goes to the Georgetown Public Hospital for ambulance service have been consistently delinquent.

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