Complaints about members of the disciplined services not carrying out their duties effectively and not getting along with residents of communities they are serving in are taken “very, very seriously” by President David Granger, Minister of Legal Affairs and Attorney General Basil Williams said.
Williams made the remarks after Toshao Ernest Samuels, of Whitewater Village, in Region One, told Williams at the just-concluded National Toshaos Council Conference that residents of his community were asking that the soldiers, who were deployed there to protect the village from incursions by members of Venezuela’s feared sindicato gangs, bandits and from other people coming into the village from Venezuela, were instead drinking and partying.
“We were happy that the police and soldiers were in our village to protect us,” he said during a session at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre.
However, at a general meeting of the village and at the village council meeting, Samuels related, “it was noted that residents were requesting that the soldiers be posted closer to the border instead of being centrally located in the village because the sindicatos and the bandits are still raiding our village.”
Williams, in response, said that posting the soldiers closer to the border may not prevent them from drinking. He said the complaint was a serious but similar issues are raised periodically with government. He said he would raise the matter at the level of the National Security Council, of which he is a member.
He noted that soldiers are not allowed to stay in one place for long periods and are stationed at various posts in rotations.
“The President of Guyana is very, very strict when it comes to those type of reports from disciplined forces personnel who seem to be harassing or not getting along with residents of the community,” he observed.
Samuels was one of the many toshaos who raised concerns about various issues in their communities, including dealing with alleged corruption.
Williams said that no one should be afraid to report or to speak out about corruption or acts of lawlessness as no one was above the law and there are several pieces of legislation to protect whistleblowers.