Community policing group can’t get vehicle returned

Dear Editor,

The Community Police Groups are voluntary organizations. The G Division Executive is an interim body in office since January of 2016, inheriting an almost nonexistent Division Community Policing Group.

Since we took office, we have expended loads of effort and money to resurrect this Division Community Policing Group. We have reached out to all groups within the Division even as far as Karawab, Bethany and Wakapoa, doing visitations and resuscitations of groups and interested communities. Although costing us a lot personally, we have achieved great things with up to 50 and 70 persons attending monthly statutory meetings instead of the 5 and 7 persons we inherited. This was no easy task but we made sacrifices which rewarded us with success.

A liaison officer is employed by the Ministry of Public Security to work along with the Division executives to build community policing in this Division. Sad to say, our liaison officer is doing the opposite. At his very first meeting, he announced that he is an RDC councillor for the AFC and that he was going to visit the community. He left the meeting 10 minutes after its commencement. This trend continues with him either doing political work during the meetings or not attending the meetings at all, and he has been absent for 5 meetings consecutively. Being absent from Liaison Officers’ meetings in Georgetown is also a norm for him and whenever he attends, he misrepresents our Division. We have seen copies of the Liaison Officers meetings minutes to confirm this. For example, at our May statutory meeting, we had representatives from 11 groups within the Division but yet the Community Policing Liaison Officer informed the meeting that only 4 groups are functioning here.

Months ago, he stopped attending meetings and stopped communicating with the executive body. Last July, our Division Chairman, Mr Kishore Gobin, signed for and uplifted a vehicle from the ministry, pick-up number PTT 9833 for community policing within the Division. He spent money out of his pocket to replace broken lights and to service the vehicle, even writing the G Division Community Policing Group organization emblem on same. From July 2016 to March 2017, this vehicle was being fuelled and maintained by the Chairman  for community policing purposes only. This can be verified by members.

In early April, the vehicle was borrowed from the Chairman on the instructions of the Community Policing Administrator to be used for the weekend for ministry personnel to do a trafficking in persons outreach on the Essequibo Coast. Lo and behold, it was never returned to date and the executive members have been given the royal runaround by the Community Policing Administrator on the issue, promising on several occasions via phone calls and even at the National AGM held on July 2nd, to have the vehicle returned. The National Chairman, among others, were informed of this development and promises were again made, but to no avail.

This vehicle can be seen with the liaison officer and others being used for their personal purposes.  The liaison officer presently uses this vehicle for his own personal day-to-day business. On at least two occasions, on our statutory meeting days, instead of being there to assist with transportation, he was doing political work while members had to pay from their pockets to attend the meetings. It is unfair to members when we have a vehicle for this purpose and when we are already sacrificing so much time, effort and money to move forward and when we were given the vehicle to provide needed assistance.

This vehicle was earmarked to transport members to the 41st Anniversary Celebrations in Berbice in April, but was never returned to the executive for same, even though the liaison officer was present at the statutory meeting when this discussion took place. Some members had to turn back from Supenaam and the few who continued had to find over $40,000 to travel to Berbice and back to Essequibo. The liaison officer and the vehicle were a no-show, the only community policing vehicle missing from the entourage.

At our March meeting at Lima Sands, after being absent for five months, I asked what his role is in the Community Policing Group, only to be told by him that he is not answerable to any of us and can do as he so chooses and I can do whatever the hell I want about it.

At our May statutory meeting, our members were agitated over all the issues surrounding the liaison officer and the vehicle, especially since members were denied the use of the vehicle to Berbice. A motion was moved to have our Division stand down until our pleas are heard as we are fed up with just promises. The membership agreed, and as such, this still stands. A copy of the motion was sent to the Community Policing Administrator and the National Chairman among others, and we are awaiting a favourable response.

We have not received any help or assistance from the ministry and it is not fair for us to continue spending money from our pockets, volunteer our time and effort and then a paid servant who receives taxpayers’ money fails to do his job and yet enjoys what is rightfully a community  policing vehicle for his personal use, while G Division Community Policing members continue to suffer.

 

Yours faithfully,

Nalini Bhagwandas

Assistant Secretary/Treasurer

G Division Community Policing

Group

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