Feb 17, 2012 Letters Comments Off on A case of money wasted, or job creation?
Are we about to witness the emergence of a new Police Force in Guyana? I am referring to the Caption, “Strategic Security Services awarded $1.1 B contract to secure state property” in your newspaper dated February 4, 2012. I thought I was asleep and dreaming for a moment, and at the same time, reading the words of the Honourable Minister Whittaker saying, “the government was not looking for watchmen” and he hoped that the able security personnel will be recruited.
All of the above points to two important issues (a) the Government has taken on board the level of unemployment in Guyana and wishes to reduce the current number, whatever that may be, by approximately 3500 personnel (see table) or (b) a new Police Force is in the making, one that is “able, alert and has the necessary training, attitude and behaviour necessary for the provision of an effective security service”.
My heart says that the motive for the former point is great for job creation, better remuneration and a better life for those seeking employment. My head says that the latter is suspicious, cunning and cagey, and above all, bears the hallmark for continued corrupt governance.
Given the magnitude of the brief, ‘to provide security for state properties in all ten administrative regions’ the Strategic Security Service (SSS) might as well claim that it has the contract to secure the Cooperative Republic of Guyana. This is tantamount to a mockery of our disciplined/security services, more so the Guyana Police Force.
In my view, the Guyana Police Force along with the Special Constabulary Unit is best positioned to protect and secure all properties within the ten administrative regions of this country. If they do not have the capacity, capability, skills, training and necessary resources, then $1.1B can go a long way to ensuring these changes happen within a responsible governmental unit, not a privately-owned and operated security firm.
For starters, the training and administrative costs will be considerably less, a substantial and fair remuneration package will result in a resurgence of new recruits to a disciplined service that is well established and managed.
How much do we pay our Special Constables, Neighbourhood Police Officers or Community Support Workers? Most or all from these groupings will emerge as candidates from within the regions, which a good thing for many reasons, including getting to and from a place of work within a reasonable time and at low costs.
One wonders what sorts of consultations, if any, took place prior to issuing these exorbitant contracts and to what extent they can be justified.
I did my own calculations, from a lay person’s point of view, assuming the bare minimum of personnel required to deliver security to our regions.
In my estimation, 3,455 staff members is the absolute minimum SSS will require to effectively manage, secure and protect our regions. Where are these people coming from between now and the 1st March, 2012?
Minister of Local Government Ganga Persaud may get his wish when he also warned that should there be lapses on the part of the security firm, resulting in loss of property or other assets, the firm would be held “accountable and answerable.”
I have a fair estimation of the strength of the Guyana Police Force which in my view requires ‘beefing up’ and a significant part of the G$1.1B given to SSS will go a long way to reinventing and reinvigorating the Police Force we have all grown to know, the one that offers ‘Service and Protection’.
A well-resourced Police Force, along with the complementary units such as the Special Constabulary and the Neighbourhood Police will be more than capable of securing and protecting our administrative regions.
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