Mr. Raphael Trotman, of the Alliance for Change (AFC) in a lengthy interview with the SN, published on Sunday, April 26, 2009 edition, claimed that the:
“Security Sector Reform is moving at a snail’s pace”
In that interview Mr. Trotman exposed his lack of knowledge about the day to day dynamics within the security sector. He refused to allow himself to be briefed on the subject by persons within the Administration who are knowledgeable about developments in the Sector. He instead opted to make a political statement in the Media that is riddled with a number of inaccuracies simply for political reasons and in a vain attempt to embarrass the Government.
Reform in the security sector is not moving at a snail’s pace. To pin the pace of reform and transformation in the security sector solely on the British/DFID’s contribution through the Security Sector Reform Action Plan is to ignore other significant contributions from Government and other external stakeholders not to mention the totality and complexity of the process currently at work in the sector.
Mr. Trotman’s claim that, “the recent shooting of Commissioner of Insurance Maria van Beek exposed the fragile architecture of the nation’s security” is a blatant misrepresentation of the facts.
Further, his claim that “the national security architecture is not solid enough to prevent through intelligence these acts from occurring”, is a far cry from the truth and a total lack of appreciation of the gains made within a relatively short period of time in the security sector.
Mr. Trotman refuses to recognise the successes scored by the Guyana Police Force and the Joint Services in respect of a number of crimes committed.
In this regard for the benefit of readers I wish to remind of the following:
(1) 2008-11-06 – Robbery under arms committed on the employees of GUYSUCO of $11M at Wales, West Bank Demerara. Within 24 hours, two of the suspects were fatally shot, all the stolen cash were recovered, eight firearms were seized and six persons were arrested and later charged.
(2) 2008-11-24 – Ricardo Hendricks was shot and killed at Middle Street, Georgetown by two men who robbed him. One of his employees and an organiser of the robbery were arrested on the said day and later charged, while one of the men that shot him was later arrested and charged.
(3) 2009-02-18 – Suraj Hansraj was robbed at gun point of $1.8M and 1.5 ounces of raw gold at Bartica by three men. On 2009-02-19, Marlon Hicks and Orin David were arrested and subsequently charged. Four hundred thousand dollars and .5 ounce of raw gold were recovered.
(4) 2009-02-20 – Roxanne Cadogan was robbed at gun point of $30,000.00 and a cellular phone by a man at Paradise, East Coast Demerara. On 2009-02-26 Terrence Peters was arrested by the police and subsequently charged.
(5) 2009-02-20 – Osmar Oliveira DaSilva was robbed at gun point of one All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) valued $3.6M, 6dwt raw gold by four men at Armo Backdam, Cuyuni River. On 2009-02-20 a Joint Services team confronted the suspects Gavin Grey, Dwayne Marks and Antwan Smith who were fatally shot by the team during an exchange of gunfire. The ATV was recovered along with three handguns. The suspects were identified in two other robberies that occurred in Bartica in February 2009.
(6) 2009-02-26 – Wishal Ramssar, a taxi driver, was robbed at gunpoint in his motor car HB 3092 by two men who posed as passengers in Georgetown. The police responded to the report and shortly after arrested Troy Jones, one of the suspects, who was stripping the car. He was subsequently charged with robbery.
(7) 2009-04-01 – Joycelyn Rambaley, a cashier at Geddes Grant in New Amsterdam, was robbed at gun point of $1.3M by two men. The police responded immediately and arrested Dwayne Harris and Courtney Patterson in their bid to escape. An unlicensed firearm and all the cash were recovered. The two men were subsequently charged.
(8) 2009-04-09 – Emildson DeSouza was robbed of mining equipment at Aranka, Cuyuni River by six men who shot him during the incident. On 2009-04-16 Deon Gittens was arrested by a Joint Services team and subsequently charged with Robbery and discharging a loaded firearm.
(9) 2009-04-14 – Collis Mentis was robbed at gun point of two gold chains by two men at Amelia’s Ward, Linden. On 2009-04-16 the police arrested Troy Warde who was later charged with the robbery.
(10) 2009-04-16 – Laurence Halley, a taxi driver was robbed at gun point of $40,000.00 (US$200) and one cellular phone by three men who posed as passengers. Thirty minutes after the report was made on the said day, Phillip Drepaul was arrested by the police and subsequently charged. US$50 was recovered.
(11) 2009-04-23 – Roysdale Sutton was robbed of jewellery he was wearing and $8,000.00 by two men at gun point in Durban Street, Georgetown. During the robbery, Emmett Sawyers who was in company of Sutton was shot by one of the suspects. On 2009-04-25, Eon Wayne was arrested and will be charged with the robbery and discharging a loaded firearm on 2009-04-29.
(12) 2009-04-25 – Samantha Hollingsworth was robbed of a laptop computer in the Botanical Gardens by two men who held her at gun point. Two hours after the robbery, the police arrested Ade Dobay and Odel Chase. They are to be charged for the robbery on 2009-04-29.
In light of the above any reasonable Guyanese (and there are many) will agree that significant strides have been made by the Guyana Police Force and the Joint Services in boosting and creating a greater comfort level for citizens’ security in our country.
Nowadays, there is a greater sense of relief and absence of fear on the part of the overwhelming majority of Guyanese as regards the security situation in our country, compared to where it was some years ago.
If the AFC and others in the Opposition wish to paint a picture of gloom and doom simply to add to the monotonous political humdrum it follows that our democracy is strong enough to resist and dispel such falsehoods.
The lack of balance in Mr. Trotman’s assessment of the “system” is clear for anyone to see not to mention the obvious political posturing and his efforts at pandering to public perception.
Contrary to the view that there are “gaping holes in the system allowing criminals to act with impunity”, Mr. Trotman should review his claims which when examined carefully will be found with many a gaping hole.
Finally, the SN must be criticised for carrying such an ill-informed unbalanced and biased story; lacking a view from the Government.
It seems as though certain Media Houses accept anything told to them by an Opposition Party once it is critical of the Government. Perhaps this is how the “independence” and political complicity between sections of the Media and the political Opposition is established, fostered and directed against the Government.
Clement J. Rohee
Minister of Home Affairs
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