– $13.6B to be spent in security sector
The renovation of the Brickdam lockups is among the projects that will benefit from $13.6 billion budgeted for the security sector, which will see funds channelled into crucial infrastructural
Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh made the announcement yesterday during the presentation of the 2009 Budget, also disclosing plans to fund modernising and strengthening of the judiciary by improving accountability and the timely dispensation of justice.
According to the minister, $588 million is programmed to be spent on upgrading physical infrastructure in the sector, including the construction of a new training facility at Eve Leary, rehabilitation of police colleges at Essequibo and Berbice, the Brickdam lock-ups, police stations and living quarters at Kurupung, Monkey Mountain, Aishalton, Bartica, Leonora and Turkeyen. The Brickdam lockups’ repulsive insanitary conditions have been in the spotlight recently.
Singh also said work would be advanced on the implementation of an integrated crime information system that will facilitate more timely access to information for crime analysis and to augment the capacity of the Crime Observatory Unit. “The results of this data compilation and analysis will be utilised to influence policy making and target setting in the various categories of security practice and the security services will be held accountable to achieve those targets,” he said.
Strong cells will also be constructed at Georgetown and New Amsterdam Prisons and there will be rehabilitation of officers’ quarters and the construction and rehabilitation of a vocational training centre at New Amsterdam. The Corriverton and West Ruimveldt fire stations and officers’ quarters at the Campbellville, Timheri and Leonora fire stations are also to be rehabilitated.
Additionally, $1 billion is being allocated towards the purchase of vehicles for the security sector.
The fire service will “acquire a water carrier, an aircraft rescue fire-fighting vehicle and water tenders”. Included is a sum of $264 million to be spent on rehabilitation and docking of the national flagship.
Meanwhile, Singh said training priorities will range from focusing on new recruits to senior management. Over 400 persons are to receive specialised training in responding to serious crimes. Community policing groups will also be targeted for training.
Singh also said over $1.8 billion would go towards the operation, modernisation and strengthening of the judicial system this year. The continuing upgrade of facilities would be complemented by initiatives that he said would be aimed “at modernising justice administration and the environment in which courts operate,” to ensure more timely dispensing of justice.
The minister announced the implementation of new “Civil Procedures Rules” to reduce the length of time from filing to hearing of cases. Consultations are ongoing on the rules. Meanwhile, Singh added that the introduction of case management conferences would result in improved case flow, following which a “comprehensive backlog development plan” would be done.
Additionally, there are plans to implement a Judicial Service Commission Act and Code of Conduct–including the establishment of sanction provisions, mechanisms for filing complaints and timeliness guidelines-to strengthen accountability in the judicial system. Singh added that a plan would be prepared to strengthen the functional operational relationship between the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Guyana Police Force, including a timeline for the DPP to assume responsibility for indictable and narcotics cases.
The establishment of a Family Court, long promised was also cited as another key element of the reform. According to Singh, the court would be established as a division within the High Court and “is expected to result in timelier, sensitive and effective resolution of matters including those related to marriage and children, and will closely complement the extensive overhauling of legislation affecting children.”