This newspaper first learnt of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) Security Seminar several weeks ago on the day that several sections of the media reported a spate of robberies in the city. Several questions were raised in the wake of those robberies and these included what some businessmen felt was the seem
ing absence of anything remotely resembling alacrity on the part of the police in placing information about the pace and progress of their investigations in the public domain and the issue of police access to footage captured on the state-run CCTV cameras installed at various points in the city. This latter issue was raised, in the first instance, by Crime Chief Seelall Persaud and later elaborated upon by Cabinet Secretary Dr. Roger Luncheon.
To return to the GCCI security seminar there were a number of things that this newspaper found significant. First, given what we believe to be the crucial importance of operational and logistical relationships between the police and the business community, we found the low level of police presence at the seminar – we recognized only two senior police officers – surprising. What was perhaps even more surprising was the fact that there appeared to be no opportunity for discourse between those persons representing business houses and the police. We felt that a significant purpose would have been served had such an exchange taken place and the presence at the forum of Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee would have made such an exchange all the more interesting.
Nor did it appear to us that the event secured as robust a response as it merited from what one might call the captains of industry, the CEO’s of major business entities, the Managers of the various Commercial Banks and the heads of the other Business Support Organizations. While it can doubtless be argued that the forum attracted security officials attached to some business concerns, one feels that the event would have communicated a far greater sense of urgency had the Heads of some of our major business entities turned up at the Pegasus on Tuesday and enjoined the debate on crime and the business community bearing in mind that both the Chamber and the Private
Sector Commission have said repeatedly that crime is at the very top of the list of challenges facing the business community.
If all of the half a dozen or so presentations – including three technically challenging ones by Ministry of Home Affairs officials – may all have been relevant in their respective ways – one doubts very much that all of what was disseminated during those presentations was assimilated by the audience. What would also have helped even less was the fact that packing all of that into around four hours meant that the exercise had to be rushed, leaving sorry little room for what one would have thought was the real objective of the exercise, facilitating a two- way flow of communication between the business community and the security experts, including the police and eliciting the kind of feedback that might perhaps serve as a basis for better protecting the business community.