Linden businesses have been encouraged to take a proactive stand in the fight against crime or risk losses, including lives.
At a one day security seminar for entrepreneurs within the Linden community last week Wednesday, Officer-in-Charge of the Police ‘E and F’ Division in Region 10 Linden Isles noted that in most cases persons within the community were familiar with the criminal elements but failed to make reports to the police, due to a lack of confidence. However, he urged the business community to take pro-active measures to protect themselves and their businesses, including reporting any suspicious person/s seen in or around their businesses or homes. “The police have the right to arrest, detain and question any person who is a suspect,” he noted.
However, participants called for police officers to act in a more professional manner when carrying out their duties. There complaints of policemen leaking information on the identification of person who would have made a report against another. They also noted that officers were often not in uniform while some failed to present any form of identification when making arrests.
The Linden Chamber of Industry, Commerce and Development (LCICD) hosted the seminar, following the murder of Albert ‘Bolo’ Joseph, one of Linden’s most prominent businessmen, who was fatally shot during a daylight robbery in January.
Isles also spoke of several strategies that can be implemented by businesses to ensure their safety. He noted that a crime does not occur when the offence is committed. “It is planned way in advance by the criminal and so it is important that you as businessmen do the same—plan way in advance how you can safeguard yourselves, employees, customers and your businesses,” he said.
Isles emphasised the importance of investigating the backgrounds of employees, becoming computer literate in order to be familiar with electronic financial records, and conducting a community study as key parts of a strategic plan that can be developed to avert criminal attacks.
Meanwhile, Lieutenant Colonel (ret’d) Gregory Gaskin, who presented at the seminar, noted that the root of most criminal activities across the country has been attributed to poverty and the lack of gainful employment of youths. He noted that the bauxite community is not creating opportunities for young people in Linden. “We should look at activities to win back our children from criminal activities. It must be our responsibility to take our sons and our daughters and create opportunities for them,” he said.
Gaskin also noted the importance of programmes like the National Service, which he said instilled some level of discipline among youths and prepared them to become positive members of society.
While the Guyana Fire Service (GFS) is not directly involved in the security of the country, Cadet Officer Cleon Thom-Fernandez was engaged by the participants of the workshop on safety issues. Among the concerns raised by proprietors was the absence of visible or known exit points and no windows on most businesses. It was recommended that enshrined in the rules and regulations of the GFS should be a clause which compels business owners to ensure emergency exit procedures in the event of fire and the presence of fire extinguishers. The issue of ownership and maintenance of fire hydrants were of major concerns to participants.