Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr Roger Luncheon, at his post Cabinet press briefing at the Office of the President reported that the decision has been taken to institutionalize polygraph tests in Guyana.
He said that the testing will be extended to the operational arm of the State as well as Government Agencies.
This he said is in an attempt to ensure integrity at the various professional levels.
When asked if the testing will be extended to Government Ministers and Permanent Secretaries he answered in the negative saying that policy makers will not be subjected to polygraphs.
He said, too, that the cost of each test is anywhere between US$200 and US$300.
Dr Luncheon also reminded media operatives of the incident in 2008 which resulted in the polygraph testing of some 32 staffers at the Customs Anti Narcotics Unit where nine had failed and were dismissed.
He said that the commitment to have the testing done annually saw in May last staffers posted at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport.
According to Dr Luncheon, they include CJIA staffers, members of the Guyana Energy Agency (GEA), the narcotics branch of the Guyana Police Force as well as CANU.
He reported that of the 25 members of the narco branch of the police force at CJIA that were tested, four failed.
Of the 10 GEA staffers that were tested another four failed while five of the 13 CJIA staffers that were tested failed. There were no failures among the CANU staff.
According to Dr Luncheon it has been advised that the same course of action be taken as with the catalyst scenario in 2008 with the CANU officers.
The narco ranks of the police Force that were tested and failed were subsequently transferred.
In March of this year President Bharrat Jagdeo at a press briefing had said that the entire issue of polygraphing would be reviewed adding that he was not happy with the expansion of the polygraph that was taking place at the time
At the time he had noted that he was one of the strongest advocates of extending the polygraph testing from CANU to other agencies.
He said that while he still believes that polygraphing is a very useful tool, he believes that for it to have maximum impact it has to be done in “controlled circumstances” and “where the units are small…
“From the time you start using it as a tool in larger agencies, where they have the numbers running to hundreds of people, you are going to have problems.”
The Head of State pointed out that if there is active investigation and someone has been identified, then the agency could request that that person take the polygraph.
“I am very reluctant to do so in larger agencies,” he said. According to the President, when those at CANU were tested everyone in the unit underwent the polygraphing so that it is not perceived as unfair.
“If you start handpicking from agencies …and if you only hand pick people on the ground…often corruption goes up through the agency…this is why I have spoken to the Cabinet about this…
“We have to be very careful about doing this except in special circumstances where you may be pursuing an investigation.”
He added that it is impossible to have 500 or 600 people polygraphed at a time.
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