It is my understanding that the various Community Policing Groups (CPGs) ought to work hand-in-hand with the police to stop crime and criminal activities,but in Region 5 this does not seem to be their aim.
On June 24 I was informed that the police at Fort Wellington Police Station had no vehicle to go on patrol and take prisoners to court. All the police vehicles were at a mechanic’s shop in Bath Settlement waiting to be repaired. So I was asked to intervene by one of my party members to make sure that the police had a vehicle for the day to use. I went in search of the CPG liaison officer so he could assist the police with the CPG vehicle, but he could not be reached, so I asked a rice farmer in Bath Settlement if they could borrow his pick-up, and he immediately gave it. Thanks very much to Mr Badesh for assisting the police with his vehicle.
Later that day around 13:00hrs I made contact with the CPG liaison officer and asked him to assist the police with the CPG vehicle. The liaison officer said that under the previous administration there was an order that no vehicle attached to a policing group should be used by the police in uniform, and that the vehicles should not be parked at a police station, and he had to abide by that. I try to explain to this man why it was needed, but he still continued to tell me that he would obey the order passed down by the previous administration. After I insisted, he gave me the number of the man where the vehicle is stationed and I called it. However, I was told by a woman that the man had gone to the backdam and the vehicle was not home. The point is that the CPGs need to assist the police in time of need. But I was further amazed the following day when the Public Security Minister visited the region and met with the CPGs and heard that they had been instructed by the previous government that they could not use private vehicles to patrol their communities. Mr Khemraj Ramjattan responded by telling the members they could use their private vehicles as long as it was reported to the police.
I heard the Chairman of the CPG in West Berbice asking the Minister for more vehicles for the CPG. But I would like to suggest to the Minister that if he is giving the CPGs vehicles, then they must be instructed to park them at the police stations within the district during the day, and they could have access to them at night.
The CPGs are using the vehicles as if they are theirs, doing all kinds of work with them during the day. The vehicles are also being used sometimes by members of the CPGs to go fishing and on outings during the day. This must stop.
By placing the vehicles during the day in the hands of the police it would make their use more transparent, and could also help the police to patrol more effectively, because as we all know a lot of illegal drugs are being used by youths in the region during the daytime. This can be a way of helping to catch the users and sellers of those illegal drugs.
I would like to appeal to Minister Ramjattan and the Commissioner of Police to assist the police at Fort Wellington by providing them with a vehicle so that they can continue their good work.
I would also like to take this opportunity to say thank you to the Minister for visiting Region Five with his team.