UK security expert doing needs assessment

– Ramjattan

British security expert Lt Col (rtd) Russell Combe is currently doing a needs assessment which will guide government on the priority areas and best institutional arrangements to ensure Guyana’s security sector is strengthened.

This is according to Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan who said that Combe has already visited a few regions and conducted interviews.

According to Ramjattan the needs assessment is expected to ascertain what might be the best approach to reforming the Guyana Police Force as well as other aspects of the ministry’s work.

He said that once complete, Combe will advise the ministry as to what might be the best priorities to set and the best institutional arrangements to put in place for a better security sector in Guyana.

Ramjattan said that Combe’s visits included the prisons and police stations in a number of regions where he asked questions.

“It is a very comprehensive survey of all the organizations, I understand that he is doing and he will advise afterwards but we need that kind of independent assessor and that is what is forthcoming from the security advisor …and I am hoping that we are going to have some really great recommendations, some very frank and full recommendations as to what ought to be done with a security sector that is by the way getting better,” he said.

Combe arrived in Guyana in January and is expected to be here for 12 months.

Late last year, the Ministry of the Presidency had announced that a security advisor from the UK was expected in Guyana to assist the country with security reforms.

The ministry’s statement had said that the expert would be working closely with the administration on the implementation of the Security Sector Reform Action Plan (SSRAP).

A previous US$4.7 million SSRAP project collapsed in 2009 following differences between the then PPP/C government and London. In June last year, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office James Duddridge had told reporters that he would have presented a document on security reform to government for its consideration.

He had explained that it entailed “a piece of analysis around the current state of the security sector and what could the potential action plan be taking forward different elements of security sector reform and specifically how the UK government could assist in that action plan.”

Soon after winning the election, President David Granger had revealed that government had approached the British to have the rejected SSRAP back on the cards in the wake of the country’s ongoing battle with crime.