500 ‘COPSQUAD’ graduates ready to combat domestic violence

In keeping with the government’s commitment to combat domestic violence against women and girls, some 500 Guyana Defence Force (GDF) officers who graduated from the COPSQUAD2000 initiative received their certificates and badges on Friday.

Human Services and Social Security Minister, Dr Vindhya Persaud handing over a certificate to one of the officers

This is a partnership of the Human Services and Social Security and Home Affairs Ministries, the Guyana Police Force, and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

The ceremony was hosted at the National Cultural Centre on Friday. 

Home Affairs Minister, Robeson Benn handing over a certificate to one of the graduates

The initiative aims to improve the officers’ knowledge of the laws governing gender-based violence and to equip them with the training they need to respond to cases of  gender-based violence in a way that would safeguard the victims.

This will help the officers to strengthen the response against the various forms of violence against women and girls. 

EU Representative, Evelina Melbarzde handing over a certificate to one of the graduates

The training included interrogation, safety assessment, how to advise and deal with persons with complaints, as well as how to create case reports.

Police Commissioner (ag), Clifton Hicken

Human Services and Social Security Minister, Dr Vindhya Persaud, during remarks at the graduation, said the training was significant since it will help the officers to address gender-based violence matters in a professional manner.

The officers were informed to be agents of peace within their communities as well. 

“You are on a path of transformation where you are the trailblazers in an initiative that ensures that every person who requires that protective arm, that you are the custodian of peace and protection in this country…I believe peace can be achieved once people understand that wherever there is peace, there is stability. Wherever there is peace, there is comfort. That comfort is felt by the citizenry knowing that there is a force that caters for them to be, at all times, secure and safe,” Minister Persaud highlighted.

A section of the COPSQUAD graduation

Meanwhile, Home Affairs Minister, Robeson Benn noted that the training is important to provide the officers with the necessary tools to mitigate gender-based violence against women and girls, while noting the need for a holistic approach.

The police officers are the gatekeepers, ensuring that peace is always maintained which will help to create wholesome communities.

“If we cannot protect our women, we would not have the opportunity to have peace in our country. If we cannot protect our children, we will have the vicious circle and the continuous issues of not moving along the progressive path of creating a more wholesome, safe society…You are the peacekeepers. Peace has to be fundamentally in the homes where women and children are,” Minister Benn said.

Police Commissioner (ag), Clifton Hicken also highlighted that the initiative to train the officers was executed to ensure that they are multifaceted and competent thereby providing the service that is needed by the public. 

“With this type of training, we will ensure that we maximise the opportunity in a decentralised way. We are going to have you, who have been trained in the COPSQUAD, stationed at every station of our outpost within the regions on a shift basis…Introspection and change start now,” he pointed out.

Meanwhile, Ambassador of the European Union, Evelina Melbarzde expressed gratitude to the partners involved in the initiative.

She emphasised that everyone has the responsibility to help others and to raise

UN Resident Coordinator, Yesim Oruc and other ranks of the Guyana Police Force were also in attendance.