More fire fighting equipment, training as $44.8B approved for Home Affairs Ministry

-$500 million approved to acquire firefighting equipment
-$30.3 billion approved for Police Force, $6.2 for Prison Service

The Ministry of Home Affairs and its various security arms have received a significant boost in funding totalling $44.8 billion to strengthen the security sector and maintain peace in the country.

A huge chunk of this allocation is dedicated to the Guyana Police Force (GPF) as $30.3 billion is approved to enhance its operations. Of this sum, $1 billion has been approved to acquire additional vehicles, motorcycles, boats and engines to boost response capabilities of the police force and $5 billion for the rehabilitation of police stations and 300 body cameras will be procured for police ranks.

Minister of Home Affairs Robeson Benn

An allocation of $ 1 billion is earmarked to advance the construction of the new Brickdam Police Headquarters.

Minister Robeson Benn explained in the committee that the government will be investing $250m to produce multi-skilled and multifaceted police officers to deliver professional and effective service.

“The Guyana Police Force, given the challenges both of crime nationally and transnational organised crime, has to be a modern police force. This requires training at all levels … [and] we are establishing a police academy …there’s other work going on for proper education,” Minister Benn informed when being questioned by opposition parliamentarians on the sums allocated to this programme.

Minister of Home Affairs Robeson Benn and other officials from the Ministry during the consideration of estimates on Friday

Meanwhile, the Guyana Fire Service (GFS) will receive $4.3 billion in 2024, of which,  $505 million will go towards rehabilitating fire stations and $500 million to purchase firefighting equipment.

Minister Benn emphasised that these firefighting equipment includes a water boat, water bowsers, water tenders and other modern apparatus to respond to the increase in fires which is currently being experienced in the country.

We have bought 16 water bowsers, we are awaiting delivery. We are buying eight new water tenders. We are buying a new fire boat now that the activity on the harbour is expanding, particularly in demerara [and] we are buying six other ambulances,” he pointed out.

The committee also approved $6.4 billion to offset operations of the Guyana Prison Service with $2.7 billion dedicated to enhancing its infrastructure while $20 million is earmarked to enhance the mobility of its officers.

The Customs Anti-Narcotic Unit (CANU) has been granted $827.4 million to acquire the necessary resources which are necessary for ranks to carry out their duties in combating the drug trade. 

Furthermore, the General Registers Office (GRO) has been granted $317 million to ensure the maintenance and security of the national registers with sums from the $42.3 million to improve the rate of adult registration in the country.

There has been a serious deficit in terms of registering Guyanese …we have taken the position that we will employ people throughout all the regions and we will … get them registered as citizens of Guyana. We have the challenge with Venezuela and we cannot have people going there … without birth certificates and other documents to verify they are citizens of Guyana. This cannot continue,”he expressed firmly. The ministry will also undertake the reconstruction of the Juvenile Holding Centre, construction of a Transitional Centre at Cummingslodge at $82 million, a new CANU Headquarters on Homestretch Avenue valued at $220 million among other facilities to a total of $570 million.