Approximately 1000 graduate from CopSquad

Approximately 1000 members of the Guyana Police Force graduated from the COPSQUAD initiative through the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security in collaboration with United Nations Population Fund under the Spotlight Initiative at the National Cultural Centre on Friday, May 13, 2023.

In her feature remarks, Minister of Human Services and Social Security the Honorable Dr. Vindhya Persaud explained “For everything to improve everyone needs to hold themselves to a very high standard, our country is on a fast-paced developmental trajectory and our Force is critical and crucial in that development that is happening across the country. This is an area of so many talking points where we are not seeming to get this under control, this is the area we must work on the hardest on because it affects the most precious human resource, notably our women.”

Minister Persaud told the graduates, “When that report is made, I urge you to treat it with every seriousness it deserves, make sure the report is written and submitted in a timely way so that prosecution can happen. This is the kind of thing that relates to the overall peace of our country… it is peace in homes, peace among family members, peace in the community and it starts with our attitudes and behaviours and our response to it.”

“So as you graduate today, I hope you take this training and take it with the kind of seriousness so that it does not become just another type of training. This must be the transformative catalyst that we want to see, where the Guyana Police Force would earn the recognition of the citizens of the country because of their proactiveness when it comes to combatting domestic violence…” the Minister continued.

Minister of Home Affairs, Honorable Robenson Benn commended Minister Persaud for her efforts while noting that there is a fruitful relationship between the two ministries.

“I just want to thank Minister Vindhya Persaud for keeping us on the straight and narrow and taking us to higher levels with the support of the United Nations and other persons from the international communities and to say that we should all be blessed,” he said.

Meanwhile, United Nations Resident Coordinator, Yesim Oruc highlighted, “I am happy and absolutely privileged and thrilled to be part of associating the United Nations and our partnership with the European Union to this effort on Gender-Based Violence and eliminating Gender Based Violence through the Spotlight Initiative, the largest investment in Gender Based Violence by the European Union through a partnership with UN and the Government of Guyana…”

Acting Commissioner of Police, Clifton Hicken detailed the plans of the force in utilizing this training. He said, “We’ve been using this platform to build our capacity as we are human and to broaden our effort especially to issues that are topical on domestic violence. Coming out of an MoU the Minister was so gracious that police were trained through COPSQUAD because the issues were topical, and we are grateful so this by itself will change the outlook in terms of professionalism of the Guyana Police Force. Training that is not used is no training at all so what we are going to do is have you decentralized across the 10 administrative regions at every police station and outpost and so that the level of service delivered to the public will be enhanced…”

The officers who completed the training have also expressed enthusiasm as they prepare to implement the knowledge gained from this training.

“It increased my knowledge a great lot, I had known before then going on the force I gained a bit more knowledge and I will use the training to deal with it accordingly,” Corporal Jaisingh, who is attached to the Criminal Investigations Department said.

911 responder, Taneisha Ramdhan related, “I just graduated from the Copsquad training and this training has been a wonderful experience for me as a 911 call taker and I would be able to take reports of people who are being abused and I could be able to assist them as fast as possible.”

Corporal John Munesh, who is based as a prosecutor at Leonora reasoned, “This training has impacted me a lot given the fact that I used to work patrol before and I used to be a first responder to domestic violence case and it taught me to identify and face certain challenges that victims may face and how I go about dealing with the situation more so it would help me in my prosecution to ask questions which are more relevant so I would not have the victim relive or think what happened. Initially, I thought domestic violence was just between husband and wife but I know it is between family.”

In February 2023, 500 officers had graduated, bringing the number of officers trained to effectively handle cases of Gender-Based Violence to approximately 1500.