GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Tuesday November 27, 2018 – Faced with overcrowding at the country’s prisons and in an effort to improve national security, the Guyana government is allocating millions to building a new prison, expanding another and starting reconstructing of another.
Finance Minister Winston Jordan announced yesterday that GYD$35.6 billion (US$170.1 million) has been allocated in the 2019 budget to the security sector – a 14 per cent increase over the last budget.
Describing the safety of citizens, happiness and the protection of their basic rights as paramount to Government, Jordan said the funds will be used for “consolidating and expanding” the sector.
He said GYD$4 billion (US$19.1 million) will be used to maintain and improve the prison service, “including a sum of GYD$1.5 billion (US$7.2 million)…to improving and developing the prison’s infrastructure, to ease overcrowding and remove the need to use the temporary holding areas like the Lusignan Holding Facility.”
The additional funds will see the construction of the new Georgetown Prison, the expansion of the Mazaruni Prison and preparatory work for the reconstruction of the New Amsterdam Prison, scanners and requisite equipment.
The Guyana Police Force, the minister said, will use its funds to consolidate and expand its services to cover larger areas. Noting that the force is harmonizing its divisional boundaries to ensure headquarters in each division, “nearly GYD$700 million (US$3.3 million) will be expended to construct and improve police buildings including four new divisional headquarters in Regions 1, 4, 5 and 6.”
Another GYD$500 million (US$2.4 million) will be spent on the Force’s fleet expansion, including vehicular, marine, canine and mounted branches. Ballistic, crime scene and other equipment will also be procured.
Jordan reminded of the successes obtained via Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) and said the agency will be able to intensify monitoring operations, at border locales and “hot spots.” The Forensic Laboratory will also be further equipped, he added.
The Guyana Fire Service will benefit from four new ambulances, enabling the EMS to fully service Region 4, with a response time of approximately 10 minutes.
The Guyana Defence Force’s allocation will enable the upgrading of facilities at Camp Ayanganna, Camp Stephenson, Anna Regina, New Amsterdam, Mokouria, and Morawhanna. The GDF will also be able to procure equipment and improve its fleet of land and water transport, inclusive of the Flagship GDF Essequibo.
Minister Jordan noted that initiatives supporting direct interventions with citizens will continue with public awareness campaigns in targeted communities across the regions. Facilities will be established in depressed areas to “promote interaction, skills training, recreation and social cohesion.”