From the moment the minister began his reforms of the police force I knew that resistance would come. Understandably so is the stout resistance coming from the Opposition forces who, like I firmly stated, will carry the fight to destabilize this country come what may. Theirs is a well- planned agenda where they’ve rabidly set out to weaken any trust the public might have had in the police while starving them of well needed funds to carry out their daily operations. This is the naked truth of this whole affair involving the police force and I make no bones about it.
While this is predictable behaviour for the opposition I am, and I believe the government is also, taken aback by the attitude of some within the force itself and I make mention of a letter written in the Kaieteur News captioned `Complaining against the Home Affairs Minister.’ Here the anonymous letter writer gives two major areas for his discontent. Firstly, that the minister should desist from making any input on senior officers of the force taking their annual vacation leave. That writer chided the Minister for making any suggestions whatsoever that might lead to a deferment of an officer’s leave even in the face of imminent unrest in one’s country. Well, for that writer/officer’s information and guidance the minister does have a significant input into the way leave is handled within an essential service such as the police. In all civilized societies ministers carry out this function when there is pending danger of unrest and Guyana is no different. So the minister has every right in his capacity to call for a halt on leave for officers in his charge.
Another area of concern is the Ministry of Home Affairs taking over the responsibility of the granting of gun licences. This move is long overdue because when you look at the present nonsense that passes where gun licences are concerned you wonder if the force has any brains at all. We are all aware of firearms being in the hands of criminals – licensed firearm holders if you please. These are persons who for the most part should not have been remotely close to, far less being the legal owner of weapons. But they are licensed holders nonetheless, granted by a force who fully well knew that these guys are criminals. This is the frightening situation we are faced with which caused the minister to make that very important change for such matters to be scrutinized by his ministry. That does not mean that there wouldn’t be the usual transparent background checks done by the police. Certainly not! Most crucial to the whole process of gun licensing is this piece of investigative work before the issuance of a licence. So I am not in the least perturbed by this move, my only regret is that it did not come sooner. I would hasten to add that the area of vehicular testing and licensing should be taken over by another agency also. This is already being practised here in the sister Caricom nation of St Lucia where testing for a vehicular licence was taken away from the police and is now administered by a team of experts from the Ministry of Transport.
Whenever changes are put in place legitimate questions are in place because it means that things are not done “the usual way.” However, when persons become political and doggedly resist those changes especially when those changes are for the smooth running of society then we definitely have a problem. In such circumstances we must put our trust in the wisdom of change.