Too many people expect the current public safety and security situation to be solved only by the government and more particularly, Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan. Public safety and security is not only the business of the executive arm of government; it is based on a cross-cutting approach that requires input from a multiplicity of actors including the private sector.
An effective crime-fighting strategy is built upon a public-private partnership. It requires input from government and civil society, among other bodies. Unfortunately, in Guyana, the private sector is yet to play a meaningful role in combating crime. They have been found wanting in relation to a crime-fighting strategy and corporate social responsibility. Certainly, they are graded ‘A’ for unconstructive criticism and second-rate inputs into an effective crime-fighting strategy.
Indisputably, crime in Guyana is partly driven by income inequality, lack of job opportunities, the impact of drugs and organized crime, the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, and a range of other sociological factors. Solving this problem requires an effective public-private partnership which seeks to bridge the gap between private and society interests.
Hence, the time has come for the private sector to be meaningfully involved in activities such as job creation, offering jobs or training courses, meaningful participation in public policy and community meetings and moreover partnering with interested stakeholders in crime and violence prevention.
Jobs and training courses should be made available to vulnerable groups such as prisoners, former prisoners, young offenders and the dispossessed. The recommended measures are not the panacea for crime and violence, but may significantly reduce the impact of crime on the Guyanese society, more particularly the business community.
Lt Col (rtd)