Forty-six pick-ups, which were among the fleet of vehicles donated to the police force over a month ago by the People’s Republic of China, were on Tuesday afternoon dispatched to the various policing divisions across the country to support anti-crime patrols during the holiday period.
The pick-ups were officially handed over at a ceremony at the Guyana Police Force’s Tactical Services Unit (TSU) compound.
‘A’ Division (George-town /East Bank Demerara) received 12 of the pick-ups; 10 were deployed to ‘B’ Division (Berbice); eight were deployed to ‘C’ Division (East Coast Demerara); five to ‘D’ Division (West Demerara/East Bank Essequibo); four to ‘E’ Division (Linden and Kwakwani); three to ‘F’ Division (Interior locations); and four to ‘G’ Division (Essequibo Coast and Islands).
Assistant Commissioner of Police (Operations) Clifton Hicken said that the pick-ups will complement those that are already in the divisions. He said during the holiday period, the force is looking to concentrate on responses to the 911 emergency system and therefore it is expected that with the recent additions, there will be a more prompt response to the reports.
On November 6, the People’s Republic of China formally handed over vehicles and other equipment worth a total US$2.6 million to the Guyana Police Force.
The donation was part of its continued support for the government’s crime fighting strategies and included 56 pick-ups, 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 handing over ceremony on Tuesday, Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan noted that while he was aiming for the immediate deployment of the vehicles after they were donated, it was not possible since they had to await the arrival of the technical committee from China to conduct some training for drivers and mechanics to ensure there is optimum use and maintenance of the vehicles. This has since been completed.
Ramjattan also pleaded with the ranks to take care of the assets. “This is the property of the people. You are the agents of the people. Make use of the vehicles to the extent of profitably using it for the purposes of service and protection,” he said.
“These are extraordinarily expensive equipment… and they are brand new. They are going to give us big service into the years ahead but please take care of them,” he urged.
Ramjattan also noted that there are too many occasions where senior ranks are losing their lives as a result of bad driving and accidents with the service vehicles. “We need not only that collective responsibility, we also need that responsibly at individual level so please make an effort,” he said.
Ramjattan related that some standard operating procedures will be implemented and advised that they are obeyed. “You drive badly and you bruise it up and damage it up, we are going to still charge you,” he warned.
Meanwhile, Commissioner of Police (Ag) David Ramnarine said that the anti-crime patrols will be set up to ensure that the citizens feel more safe and comfortable during the holiday.
“We have asked the anti-crime patrol to ensure that during the hours of darkness, as soon as night steps in, to have those flashing on so people in their verandas, people in their homes, people having their little shops downstairs, can see flashing lights about the place and know that the police are around and they can feel safer and they can feel more comfortable,” Ramnarine said.
Ramnarine said that the pick-ups will work significantly in making the force more visible and in making its crime prevention drive more meaningful. “…We have done well and we continue to do well in our prosecution of offenders. We solve crimes rather quickly but it is always easier to prevent rather than to detect,” he said.