Serious crimes down by 20 per cent – National Assembly hears

The PPP/C’s strategic crime fighting strategy is proving to be effective as serious crimes have been reduced by double figures.

Minister of Home Affairs Robeson Benn said, “in spite of all that have been said about Guyana, serious crime has been reduced by 20 per cent.” This was revealed as the minister threw his support behind budget 2022 during the debates.

Minister of Home Affairs Robeson Benn

The figure follows the 21 per cent decrease in serious crimes for 2021, which was also the country’s largest decrease in over a decade.

Added to that, the Home Affairs Minister pointed out that, “the instance of fires has been reduced by 30 per cent. What is different now is there is arson attacks on government buildings, particularly police stations.”

In 2021, there were fires at the Vigilance Police Station, the Brickdam Police Station and at the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), which is housed at Police Headquarters, Eve Leary, Kingston.

However, as it relates to the Brickdam Police Station, $400 million has been earmarked to reconstruct the building. Several designs are already in hand for the building which will be several storeys high.

To strengthen the capacity of the Guyana Fire Service, $100 million has also been allocated to rehabilitate and install fire hydrants. In addition, government is investing $255 million to procure a hydraulic platform given Guyana’s changing landscape.

In the area of traffic, Minister Benn relayed that, “for the first time in more than 16 years, road deaths have dropped below 100 in Guyana.” In the same breath, he said that he is distressed by the recent accident that claimed the lives of two young people and offered his condolences to the loved ones of the victims. The minister said an investigation will be undertaken in that matter.

He responded to claims by the APNU+AFC opposition that government is not ensuring the safety and security of Guyanese, noting that it was during their tenure that persons entered Guyana and went missing.

“From the period 2017 to 2020, 36,000 persons passed through Guyana, 94 per cent of all who arrived from a particular country disappeared. When we talk about people smuggling and trafficking in persons, we have to look at these statistics,” Minister Benn stated.

While the name of the country was not provided to the National Assembly, the minister said it is the same report that was provided to the opposition when they were in office. In addition, some 35,000 people from another unnamed country entered Guyana with 87 per cent of all who arrived disappearing, the minister said.

Minister Benn said other agencies under his ministry have made great headway in addressing narcotics trafficking, seizing illegal fire arms and closing cases related to money laundering by the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU).

In budget 2022, government has allocated $47.9 billion towards public security and safety.