By Guyana Times,
…assures of better equipped Police Force
People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Prime Ministerial Candidate Mark Phillips is a retired Brigadier General, who once headed the Guyana Defence Force (GDF). Small wonder, then, that on Sunday Phillips spoke about some of his party’s plans for the security sector if elected.
Phillips was at the time speaking at a PPP rally in Stewartville, West Coast Demerara, Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara).
While noting that the party will return the end of year bonus to the Disciplined Services that was halted by the coalition Government, Phillips made it clear that he would put his security background to use formulating crime prevention strategies.
“We have a plan. And the plan does not involve a 2:00 AM curfew. We’re not dealing with children. You could stay out how long you want, but our plan will create safer communities, reduce crime, re-equip the Police Force, re-professionalise the Police Force,” Phillips informed the large crowd.
“Our plan will let you work with the Police Force, to help them create your community a safer community through the police community group. We have a coalition and they boast that they have about six Generals and retired commissioner of Police. But crime is still high and the police capacity is still low. But this one General, working with Irfaan Ali and his Cabinet, will create a safer environment.”
Phillips noted that an important part of crime-fighting is ensuring that the Disciplined Services are adequately equipped. He noted that under the PPP, large sums were invested into doing just that and a next PPP Government would continue that legacy.
“You check our records. The PPP/C is the only party that spent substantially on the recapitalisation and re-professionalism of our Disciplined Services. Anything we buy for the Disciplined Services is brand new and serviceable. Because we believe that we have to secure your communities. [And] we have to have a sovereign Guyana safe from invaders.”
Phillips also lambasted the Government for campaigning on a platform where it proclaimed itself to be honest and decent. Phillips pointed to the Government’s disregard for the court rulings and the withdrawal of the “Because we care” grant from the school children.
He also said that for the past five years, the Government has made no progress, but rather has been “marking time”, that is marching in one place. Taking it further, PPP General Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo described the coalition Government as a Government going backwards rather than forward or static.
Despite being led by a retired Brigadier General in the form of President David Granger, the Government has come in for much criticism for its handling of crime in Guyana. It has gotten to the point where the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) called out the Government on the issue last year.
The Union, in a statement to the media a few months back, said that in recent times, pronouncements from officialdom have sought to communicate and indicate that criminal activity was on the decline.
According to FITUG, Guyanese are genuinely and sincerely concerned and very worried that they can be the next unwitting victim and the present situation has caused persons to feel insecure to be home alone or to venture out for social activities.
“Certainly, our people ought not to be confined to living in perpetual fear of being attacked, this is not the way people should live as it has serious implications for their well-being and psyche. Undoubtedly, there is a critical need for the Guyana Police Force (GPF) to proactively address what is clearly a frightening situation. The need for regular patrols, intelligence gathering, proactive Police action, among other things cannot be underscored, these initiatives, among others, could be helpful to bring the situation under control,” the Union said.
It noted that the rising crime rate also could not be delinked from what is taking place elsewhere in society, adding that the most recent Labour Force Survey, prepared by the Bureau of Statistics, indicated that the unemployment rate increased from 12.2 per cent at the end of 2017 to 13.8 per cent at the end of 2018.