Security sector boosted with China’s US$2.6M communications and transportation donation -President says Gov’t focused on equipping GPF

Georgetown, Guyana – (November 07, 2017) President David Granger said that as threats to human safety and public security continue to increase in number and complexity, the Government will spare no effort and seek support to ensure that the Guyana Police Force (GPF) is adequately equipped to confront and overcome these challenges at the national level and the levels of the community and the citizen. The Commander-in-Chief made these remarks at the handing over ceremony of vehicles and equipment to the value of US$2.6M, donated by the People’s Republic of China, one of Guyana’s long-standing bilateral partners. The ceremony was held at the GPF’s Sports Ground at Eve Leary.

President David Granger speaking at the handing over ceremony.

Noting that Guyana’s security infrastructure is inadequate to meet the country’s geographical challenges, as well as the threats it faces, the Head of State said Government, through budgetary allocations and support from international partners has prioritised the equipping and modernising of the GPF. “We do not have enough aerodromes. We do not have enough bridges, highways and stellings. Yet the Police Force must cover this entire country. How will it do so? The vast areas, long distances and limited communications and transportation assets available to the Police Force restrict its ability to effectively enforce the law everywhere in Guyana. We cannot have a secure country if our borders and our territory is being violated by criminal of transnational crime… An efficient, well-equipped and well-trained Force is needed to confront these threats to human safety. Our country must be secured against local and transnational crime and interpersonal violence,” he said.

Recognising these challenges, the Government, with the support of the British Government, has restarted the Security Sector Reform Project, which will be implemented through a formal department in 2018 in order to implement the recommendations, which are currently being drafted. As part of that project, the GPF will adopt a divisional structure akin to that of the regional structure of the 10 Administrative Regions in Guyana. This will allow every divisional commander to be able to relate to a Regional Democratic Council and every capital town will be the headquarters of a police division; putting an end of a system where one commander has responsibility for three interior regions as currently obtains.

“One region, one division, one division, one commander, that is how it is going to be. The Force’s efficiency will be improved further through improved management, training and the provision of more and better equipment. Your Government is committed to ensuring that the Force is given the tools to do the work it is required to do and it is in that context, therefore, that the equipment being presented today by the People’s Republic of China to the Guyana Police Force recognises the need to enhance the spatial deployment of the Force to every region in addition to respond to the specific threats to human safety,” he said.

The items handed over today include 56 pickups, 44 motor cycles, 35 All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs), five buses, 550 pieces of protective gear, 40 desktop and 30 laptop computers, 10 scanners, 10 printers, 10 photocopy machines, 30 decibel meters and five generating sets. An initial donation of 30 handheld radio sets, 12 motor cycles, 48 body pack cameras with accessories, four portable power packs and two helmet mounting kits totalling some US$60,000 were handed over in November 2014 under this same programme of cooperation.

Some of the vehicles donated to the Guyana Police Force.

The President informed that the vehicles and equipment will be used primarily in the transportation, traffic and communication branches of the Force, the acquisition of which was a matter of high security priority for the Administration.

“I welcome the donation of communications, transportation and electricity generation equipment, which will improve the Force’s efficiency. The computers will reinforce the communications network between stations and headquarters; the vehicles will improve the ability of law-enforcement officers to travel to crime scenes and to conduct patrols. The Government of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana thanks the Government of the People’s Republic of China for its assistance over the years. The Government and the Force are deeply grateful for the provision of equipment and machinery,” he said.

Meanwhile, Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon, who is currently performing the functions of Minister of Public Security, pointed out that this donation must be viewed within the context of the five-point plan, which was outlined by President Granger in July 2015. The five points are improving police administration, re-organising and enhancing training, effective deployment of ranks throughout the country, improving communication, and the acquisition of assets and equipment. The overall objective of this plan was to strengthen the Force’s capacity and capabilities to fight crime and make Guyana a safe place to work and live.

“The acquisition of assets and equipment by the Guyana Police Force today is, therefore, most welcome as it will enable the Force to be adequately deployed in all the regions of Guyana and in all neighbourhoods and communities and to respond in a timely manner to report of criminal activities or requests for police action,” the Minister said.

Acting Police Commissioner, Mr. David Ramnarine, who also made reference to the five-point plan, noting that under that policy, the Force has seen an exponential increase in overseas training for ranks of the GPF. Thus far, approximately 400 officers have benefitted from training. Additionally, officers of the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and of the Strategic Planning Unit are all benefitting from specialised training. In terms of increasing the strength of the Force, he disclosed that some 1300 ranks were recruited, during that period and this process is continuing.

China’s Ambassador to Guyana, Mr. Cui Jianchun, in his remarks, spoke of the warm, cordial relationship between that Guyana and China and said that today’s handing over is much cause for celebration since the two countries share 45 years of diplomatic ties.

Speaking of the paramount importance of maintenance of national security, he said that the GPF needs much more resources if it is going to guarantee protection to citizens and preserve the way of life in society.

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