GEORGETOWN, Guyana, January 28, 2008 – President Bharrat Jagdeo yesterday met with hundreds of residents of Mon Repos, Good Hope and Lusignan, East Coast Demerara where he advised members of the communities to join Neighbourhood Policing Groups to strengthen community security.
President Bharrat Jagdeo met with residents to examine ways to make their communities safer in light of the recent attack by gunmen on the village of Lusignan which left 11 persons dead and two wounded.
He said that all countries rely on the Police and army for the security of its citizens but, given Guyana’s small security force it would be impossible to station ranks in all the villages of the country since if this were done, with the present strength only 10 percent of the villages would be protected at any one time.
President Jagdeo said that his Government has always encouraged the formation of Community Policing Groups (CPG) to assist in the protection of communities. These groups have been effective in some communities but others are not functioning as they should.
In response to residents’ complaints that the police patrols should do more in offering protection from criminals, President Jagdeo told the residents, “We can all complain but you need to do something, not only expect the police to get more aggressive and go after the criminals. At the community level you have to do your own part and the only way you can do that is if you are trained and equipped.”
Addressing the reluctance of some residents to join the security services, Jagdeo said that the Disciplined Services Commission Report submitted to Parliament stated that the forces were not balanced in terms of ethnicity. He lamented that some persons complain that the salary is too small and they will not join the force, but queried how could the money be good for some and not for others.
Government, he said, was trying to establish Neighbourhood Police to address the concerns of others of being transferred from their village when they enlist. Six hundred paid positions were created and only 200 applications were received.
The meeting he said was aimed at finding alternatives to assist in securing the villages. Residents were asked to give suggestions as to what could be done in this regard.
Several suggestions were put forward by the residents. They included: changing the law making it lawful for all citizens to bear arms, arming all businessmen so that they could defend themselves and neighbourhood against attacks; burning down the bushes in the backlands of the villages since the gunmen use the bushes as cover to gain access to Buxton and the formation of a special squad to hunt down the gunmen.
Other suggestions included paying stipends to persons involved in the CPGs as an incentive and accelerating the processing of approval for arming members.
There was a suggestion that hanging should recommence and President Jagdeo assured residents that he supports hanging any person found guilty of murdering a defenseless innocent person.
Since becoming President, four death warrants were signed but the entire process is tied up in the courts since the persons had approached the courts to stop the hanging. The executive has to submit to the decisions of the court, he said. (GINA)