Opposition destroyed, corrupted the disciplined services during tenure – Min. Benn

The authoritarian nature of the previous APNU+AFC Coalition Government was exposed earlier on Tuesday as the National Assembly continued the debates on the 2024 budget.

Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn pointed to the opposition’s nature, which he said, had a negative influence on the security sector.

Minister of Home Affairs Robeson Benn contributing in the national budget debates on Tuesday

He said this also led to them adopting a corrupt approach while managing the sector during its five-year tenure.

Minister Benn remained adamant that the police and disciplined forces could not be relied upon during the coalition’s five years in office, because of its political interference.  

“He wants me to not pay attention to bringing us back from that malaise, that inattention, that corruption, that lack of integrity which those forces have had…over the years of their misrule…They had practically destroyed, subsumed, [and] corrupted the discipline services,” Minister Benn stated in response to Opposition Member of Parliament (MP) and former Security Minister, Khemraj Ramjattan.

The minister referenced the APNU+AFC attempts to rig the 2020 General and Regional Elections results, noting that political powers were abused to control GPF.

He reminisced on the disruptions at the Ashmin’s building which was being occupied as a Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) office, where PPP/C supporters were being assaulted with bricks being thrown at them.

“They came to me terrified, asking for police support to take them to a place of safety. So, I went to the police chiefs on the road and then, pointed out the situation they knew of, but they turned their backs on it. You know what they told me? ‘You’re on your own’.”

Minister Benn, who was a GECOM Commissioner at the time, also physically struggled with police ranks as they attempted to remove him while he was carrying out his duties during the election saga.

“One day, the complete record of the disgrace that the APNU+AFC has brought to this country and its constitution will be clearly written. This process would be significantly aided by actions taken in the courts,” he stated.

As the PPP/C Administration works aggressively to increase peace, Minister Benn said this cannot be achieved with the current opposition, who he said is not a reliable partner.