Security sector reform plan still being studied – Granger

Lt Col (rtd) Russell Combe (at left) handing over the plan to President David Granger in January

Six months after a security sector reform plan was handed over to government by British security expert Lt Col (rtd) Russell Combe, the document is still being perused, President David Granger said on Thursday.

 “We are going through it. It is a very detailed report”, he said, when approached at State House for information on when it will be made public. Moments earlier, he had sworn in the new members of the Police Service Commission.

Combe, who returned to Guyana in April to continue advising the government on security sector reform on a contract which will end in March next year, was among those present at the swearing in ceremony.

Observers have raised concern at the time that it is taking for the government to make the plan public.

In May, following a function at State House, Granger had said that it was with Cabinet and assured that it would be made public once it was presented to the National Assembly.

“The report was laid before the Cabinet and when the Cabinet has completed its deliberations it will be presented to the National Assembly and the public,” the president had said, when asked about the plan.

Asked how long it would be before it reached the public, he had said that that was dependent on when Cabinet completed its deliberations and presented the plan to the National Assembly.

“It’s nothing to hide. As you know, there are several serious security challenges, piracy …the reports being made about the prison service—the Mother’s Day party—and also within the police force. So, we are deeply concerned about the security situation and the sooner we implement those reforms, I think, the better,” he had said.

Government has not divulged much information about the contents of the plan and neither has Combe.

Granger had previously said that the plan would not be shelved.

Shortly after the closing ceremony of an intensive two-week anti-corruption training programme for law enforcement officers in April, Combe had declined to speak on the contents of the plan, saying that it is a matter for the president. He was asked specifically about the recommendations he had made, as well as, whether he was disappointed that the report had not yet made its way into the public domain.

“Certainly, a part of the approach that I know the UK wishes to take, in terms of my support, is to have transparency and for as much of the areas that I have dealt with and spoken about—in reports both to the president at the end of my time but also in other reports that I submitted throughout the period, such as the interim report in June—there would be as much available in the public domain as possible, but that is a matter for the president,” he had said.

Combe later told the media during a brief interview that the report he had submitted placed focus on areas of general improvement within the Guyana Police Force. A number of initiatives had already been undertaken and he had stressed that the plan was being considered and being “worked through” at the moment.


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