Commissioner of Police Henry Greene has arranged with President of the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miner’s Association (GGDMA) Patrick Harding to meet the miners’ group body next Tuesday.
The announcement was made yesterday—a day after Harding complained to President Bharrat Jagdeo that the GGDMA had been trying for more than a year to meet the ‘Top Cop’ on its concerns about criminal activities in the mining areas. He said that the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) has agreed to meet with the GGDMA to discuss the issue and noted that efforts to meet with Commissioner Greene had been unsuccessful.
President Jagdeo said that it was an “unacceptable” situation, while assuring that Greene, along with representatives of the Guyana Police Force and the Home Affairs Ministry, would meet with the association on the issue.
In response, the Guyana Police Force, in a statement, said Greene is neither unmindful of the GGDMA’s issues and concerns, nor is he unwilling to meet this group or any similar body whose focus surrounds the best interest of miners.
The police stated that in July of this year the GGDMA wrote to the Commissioner of Police requesting an audience, to which he positively responded. However, the meeting has not been crystallized. “For the GGDMA to state that it has been trying to meet with the Commissioner of Police for one year is highly unethical and the reason for it making such a statement is unknown,” the release stated.
In addition, the police noted that a monthly meeting of the Hinterland Intelligence Committee, of which the GGDMA is part, is hosted by the police and miners have the opportunity to voice concerns as regards the mining community. However, the statement indicated, the GGDMA’s attendance at that meeting has not been consistent.
The statement further said that the force has recorded several disorderly murders and crimes carried out by criminal gangs over the past few months. As a result, teams have been sent into the interior and have supported ranks already present on those grounds. They have been involved in roving patrols, comprising air, vehicular and riverain. The roving patrols were developed after the Officers’ Conference of 2010. Prior to then, a special river patrol between the Essequibo and the interior was organized by the Commanders of “D”, “E & “F”, and “G” Divisions. Also, the Joint Services Operations Group (JSOG) was said to have been involved in response to reports of crime in the interior and confidence building patrols.
Additionally, several miners have been granted permission to have guards established with supernumerary status and also individual firearm licences. This process was said to be ongoing.
The police said it considered GGDMA’s statement “quite unfortunate” as it was explained that the force has conducted regular and consistent meetings with this body on many Sundays as organized by the GGDMA. These meetings saw discussions on various plans for check-points and personnel support with Supernumerary Constables by miners of the interior. According to the police, together, they had identified the locations where check-points would be placed and would have had assistance in manning those points. The GGDMA has subsequently had difficulty in fulfilling the role to which it had agreed, the police reported.
However, the statement said, the force has still continued to meet this body and has pushed ahead with plans, strengthening its staff at Kurupukari, Kirkwood, Mabura, Itaballi and Teperu and from time to time holding the tri-junction which has entry and exit points to Lethem, Mahdia and Bartica.
In addition, it has been linking with the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) to provide support for enforcement in various areas in the interior. The concerns of the GGDMA are continually being addressed, it added.
“As a matter of fact the force has a responsibility for prevention and detection of crime and maintenance of law and order and is willing, ready and able to do its duty,” the force said.