Gov’t still studying security reform plan, Harmon says

Government is still studying the security sector reform action plan crafted by British expert Lt Col (rtd) Russell Combe to decide on which of the many recommendations it will utilise, according to State Minister Joseph Harmon.

“The report that was handed over by Col Combe, there are several recommendations which were made in it and these are matters that we will study because you know we cannot drastically change [our] security framework just like that overnight,” Harmon told a post-Cabinet press briefing brief on Friday.

“The report is getting attention at the level of His Excellency, the president, and the persons who are studying the report itself,” he added.

In January, Combe, who was retained to resuscitate a security sector reform plan that had been aborted under a former PPP/C administration, handed over an action plan to President David Granger.

President Granger has maintained that there will be security sector reform and that plan involves measures to promote greater probity in the work of the police and to ensure greater integrity among its officers.

It will also strengthen professional responsibility and oversight of the force, he said. “Security sector reform is being reintroduced with the aim of providing increased security for all citizens by improving the Force’s performance to allow it to become, increasingly, more capable of crime-fighting and law-enforcement. To be so capable, it must command the confidence of citizens. There must be public trust,” he told the Police Officers’ Annual Conference last month.

Granger also stressed that security sector reform will strengthen partnerships and enhance cooperation between the police force and communities.

Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo last week criticised government for failing to make the reform plan public, while noting that “buy-in” from everyone, including the opposition, is critical.

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