The People’s Republic of China yesterday formally handed over vehicles and other equipment worth a total US$2.6 million to the Guyana Police Force, as part of its continued support for the government’s crime fighting strategies.
At a ceremony at the Police Officers’ Sports Club, at Eve Leary yesterday afternoon, China’s Ambassador to Guyana Cui Jianchun handed over 56 pickups, 44 motorcycles, 35 ATVs, 5 motor buses, 550 protective gear items, 70 computers (desktops and laptops), 10 scanners, 10 printers, 10 photocopying machines, 30 decibel meters and 5 generator sets.
Speaking at the event, President David Granger noted that the donation recognised the need to enhance the spatial deployment of the Guyana Police Force to every region, which aligns with the government’s plans to expand the number of police divisions from the existing seven to ten, which he has previously spoken of.
He also said that the under the auspices of the United Kingdom, a security sector reform office will be opened next year to implement the recommendations which are now being crafted by a security adviser.
“The police force, as part of that reform project, will adapt the same divisional structure as the ten administrative regions of our country, so that every divisional commander will be able to relate to a regional chairman in the Regional Democratic Council,” he explained.
“Every capital town will be the headquarters of a police division,” he added, while noting that there would not be one person commanding all the interior locations, as is done presently. “One region, one division. One division, one commander,” he said.
According to Granger, the Guyana Police Force faces numerous challenges in suppressing crimes within the national territory. “These assets will allow for easier movements across the country, in any weather or the rain, by day or by night [and] will enable our law enforcement officers to reach crime scenes and the main destinations to continue [the] work of suppressing crime,” he explained.
“We cannot have a secure country if our borders and our territory are violated by criminals, by transnational crime,” he said. He emphasised the need for an “efficient, well-equipped and well- trained” police force in order to conquer these threats. “Our country must be secure at the local, regional, national and transnational level in order to prevent crime, interpersonal violence, [and our] territory from being abused and misused,” he said.
Meanwhile, State Minister Joseph Harmon, acting for Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan, who is currently overseas on duty, said the donation would enable the force to be adequately deployed in all communities across the country and to respond in a timely manner to the reports of criminal activities.
Harmon acknowledged the Chinese government for the “most timely and generous gift.”
“We take it as another manifestation of the warm and courteous relations that exist between our two countries and people,” he said.
Harmon assured that the resources provided will be utilised in a meaningful way to enable the force to discharge its functions in a timely and efficient manner even as he noted that he was advised and assured by the head of the police force that there will be “scrupulous” accountability for the assets, which will include regular inspections.
Also speaking at the event was Commissioner of Police (ag) David Ramnarine, who noted that Commissioner of Police Seelall Persaud initiated the process that led to the donation when he met with officials of the Chinese government in 2014. In 2014, the People’s Republic of China had donated some US$60,000 worth of equipment to the force. “Since then, the process was kick started with the signaled involvement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where a list of much needed items for the Guyana Police Force was submitted,” he said, while noting that the “larger subscription of this engagement’ was handed over yesterday.
Also in attendance at the handing over yesterday were Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Sydney Allicock and Minister of Public Telecommunications Catherine Hughes.