Citizens security sub-group hosts strategy session

The Community Action Component (CAC) of the Citizen Security Programme (CSP) hosted a planning workshop for making communities safer, on Saturday.

CSP Community Action Specialist Roseanne Purnwasie said the workshop was convened because government recognised the great and urgent need to sustain the positive outcomes it has continually worked on over the years to make communities safe.

The workshop, held under the theme ‘Citizens working towards sustainable safe neighbourhoods,’ was convened with community action officers, members of community action council, the police force, community policing groups, sports clubs members, religious leaders and head teachers, a press release from the Government Information Agency (GINA) said. It also included an interactive session to develop a strategic plan that would be used nationally to secure neighbourhoods.

Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee said the workshop provided an opportunity to make safe communities a reality as the ministry’s task of undertaking this endeavour is not easy. However, he believes that with the implementation of the CSP more has been done in this respect. “When we signed on to this programme we recognised the need to reduce citizens security to a much lower denominator, moving from the broader to a narrow perspective engaging directly with neighbourhoods and members as better results would be yielded…persons tend to be more concerned with the neighbourhood in which they live,” Rohee said.

The minister said after having done so much work and having garnered positive feedback from the CSP programme it was necessary to engage members of each neighbourhood as it is not only about empowering community members with a skill, but rather of truly fostering community action towards the prevention of crime and violence. “Members of each neighbourhood have to be a part as these individuals best understand what their community needs to ensure its safety and security…if we want to take the bull by the horns we must first recognise the realities that exist and deal with them individually,” he said.

According to GINA, the CSP defines a safe neighbourhood as one which believes that safety is a basic right. It is also one that views its designation as a safe neighbourhood as a public affirmation of and, testament to its aspiration to create a safer life for all its citizens. Safe neighbourhoods also have the following values: safety as a fundamental human right, people working to ensure that their neighbourhoods are safer places to live, work, learn, travel and play and everyone promotes and maintains their safety and the safety of others.

In working towards the long-term achievement of making safe neighbourhoods a reality, members are expected to commit to being part of a sub-group that partners promoting safety; creating and implementing long-term sustainable programmes addressing both sexes of all ages, creating and implementing programmes for at-risk groups and promoting safety for vulnerable groups; creating and employing programmes that document the frequency and causes of injuries, creating evaluation measures to assess programmes, processes, effects and changes and participate in other safe neighbourhood networks.

GINA noted that the CSP started in 2007 with the objective of reducing crime and violence in Regions 4 and 6, which were, at the time the areas where most crimes had been reported. This growing need to address crime and violence prevention saw the implementation of three strategies: the modernisation and capacity building of the Home Affairs Ministry, modernising and building the capacity of the Guyana Police Force and the CAC.