State not fulfilling security obligations to private sector
– Granger says businesses forced to overspend to ensure own protection
Leader of the Opposition David Granger has chided government for what he says is its failure to fulfill its security obligations to the private sector. The Opposition Leader said that there seems to be a heavy burden being placed on private persons to ensure their safety, when largely, that provision is an obligation of the state.
The Opposition Leader said that there is great concern over the country’s security situation, since the private sector was ensured that there would be support in relation to security reform. The business sector contributes immensely to the growth of the nation and Granger was adamant that their services, likewise their protection, are vital in ensuring their continuance.
He added that investment which ensures growth is most important when speaking about the private sector or business community. “We want to see that Guyana becomes a place safe for investment, safe for businessmen as well as ordinary citizens,” such as fishermen, who do not expect that they would be attacked by pirates when they go out to sea.
Granger charged that likewise in the city and towns, it is unfair for business persons to be paying large sums of money in overheads to provide “security fences, lights, guards, weapons, watch towers and dogs.”
“We feel that there is a heavy burden that is borne by business persons which ought not to be.” Granger said it should be the state to guarantee these persons security while they can focus on their businesses.
“They have to spend too much on their own security and that is cutting into profits and the earnings of the country,” Granger opined. Corporation tax and other forms of taxation are being reduced in order to manage the security issue.
As far as the security plan put forward by Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee last year December, neither the private sector nor the opposition have seen it, Granger said. He charged that a security plan cannot be endorsed by the opposition if the Government is not prepared to release it.
Granger continued that he will however meet again with persons of the private sector to discuss issues such as the budget and the security situation. That meeting, he said, is scheduled for the new week.
On December 31, Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee outlined an elaborate security plan that would see among other things, significant changes within the Guyana Police Force and other entities under the purview of his Ministry.
The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) in a press statement had related that private sector members identified the security situation as a significant barrier to doing business in the country. “A safe and secure environment attracts capital, encourages growth, and helps to improve conditions that contribute to the overall quality of life of our citizens,” the GCCI had stated. The GGCI said that they too were committed to supporting security sector reform and any reasonable measure that would make the country safer.