In a country where there are fewer than 800,000 people one would believe that it should be a simple task to conduct research, gather information and create simple procedures to address alarming matters. However our governments of yesterday and today continue to demonstrate to us that it’s either a difficult task to undertake or they are hell bent on cutting and pasting rather than developing realistic approaches to tackle the growing concerns about torture being perpetrated by our police officers and also crimes being conducted by past and present members of our armed forces.
Cutting (Ctrl C) and pasting (Ctrl V) alludes to the wholesale foreign training that is often highlighted to give us Guyanese the impression that the force is improving, or moreso expanding its scope of professional service, while paying little to no attention to the rapidly growing concern of police torture and crimes. With the growing number of cases one would believe serious internal action will have be taken to address these issues but that might result in some senior officers having to investigate their own.
It is clear that there are major problems as it relates to the functioning of our Police Force and many of its officers. The problems may vary and so do the factors which often aid in causing police misconduct, and unless those factors like top-down corruption, low salaries, stressful working conditions and lack of incentives and bonuses, are dealt with, then we the citizens will feel the wrath of their frustration. In addition, a complete screening needs to be done to weed out those who shouldn’t be a part of the force, and stricter screening methods ought to be conducted upon entering the force, since it’s not a place to go just because you want to hold a gun, or a last resort job for not having a proper education or none at all. We believe special attention needs to be placed on screening before and after entering the force so as to ensure that the mandate to serve and protect is always upheld. Psychological treatment is also pivotal to ensuring that officers are mentally able to deal with issues.
The government needs also to recognize the value of the University of Guyana and its ability to help provide needed research, psychological and other social services through its graduates in related fields and not play around with its funding. It is time to realize that the university ought to serve as a tool in aiding development in Guyana; if we don’t value what we have then how can we expect others to?
In closing we would like to share this quote: “An injustice committed against anyone is a threat to everyone” –Montesquieu. The days for cutting and pasting are long gone; we need to assess, evaluate and develop the necessary systems and procedures to address the alarming malfunctioning of the Guyana Police Force with the hope of maintaining the mantra to serve and to protect. A change of Commissioner won’t work; we need to have a ‘Ctrl Alt Delete’ process where we stop all the operations that are corrupting our system.
Clayton F Halley
For Walter Rodney Youth Movement