Feb 23, 2012 News
– Commanders were advised to seek public assistance
During last November’s General and Regional Elections, police ranks had complained bitterly about the quality, and in some cases, lack of food while they were inlying in the various barracks throughout the country.
Their Commanders were advised to solicit the help of the public in order to provide them with meals so that their stay away from home for the one-week period would have been less stressful.
They were told that the government had not provided money to the force for their upkeep.
But as it turned out, that was a big lie; the government had budgeted a whopping $90M for such a purpose.
In fact, several Divisional Commanders have informed that this was revealed by a senior government official who had expressed dismay at the fact that the ranks were shabbily treated.
Kaieteur News understands that a massive investigation has been launched to determine who really benefitted from the disbursement of the cash, for which the present government is seeking parliamentary approval.
Already some Commanders have provided investigators with statements.
According to the schedule of supplementary provision on the current and capital estimates for the period 2011-10-05 to 2011-12-31, the government has made advances from the contingencies fund to the tune of $90,649,200 to the Guyana Police Force through the Ministry of Home Affairs.
This amount was to “meet additional expenditure for the General and Regional Election 2011; for feeding rural constables working on elections day; for feeding of police ranks inlyned (sic) and to meet expenditure associated with intensification of patrols in and around the city.”
Kaieteur News understands that it is customary for Divisional Commanders to prepare a budget of expenditure for the provision of meals for the ranks under their command on every occasion that an election is held.
This was done by a few Commanders but was reportedly rejected by the Commissioner of Police in the run-up to last November’s elections.
Kaieteur News understands that the Commissioner informed his Commanders that no money was provided for the inlying of ranks and advised them to solicit the assistance of members of the public, which they did.
Kaieteur News was told that the scenario was exposed when former President Bharrat Jagdeo visited Berbice prior to the elections. He enquired from the ranks if they were prepared for the task at hand. The answer he got shocked him – there was no food.
According to reports, the former Head-of-State made several telephone calls and later assured the ranks that he had instructed that monies be made available for the purpose of feeding the ranks for the extended period when they were required to remain in barracks away from their families.
But despite this, Commanders have reported that they never received any cash, forcing them to seek alternative ways to meet the requirements of feeding their ranks.
“We had to beg,” one Commander told this newspaper.
Another Commander reported that throughout the inlying period, seventy percent of the ration received came from private citizens.
“The first day (of inlying) there was no food; public spirited persons gave us a cheque to buy ration. The second day we had to send the ranks home to eat and come back,” one of the Divisional Commander told this newspaper.
After the situation became desperate, commanders were instructed to uplift ration from the Police Consumers Coop Society.
But this move proved to be disastrous, since some of the perishables consumed caused ranks to fall ill.
In Georgetown, the ranks had complained that they had to take their own foodstuff, since that which was provided was substandard.
In some divisions the inlying was stood down a day after the elections for want of adequate food.
“Although the tension was still high, we had to send of the ranks,” a Commander explained.
But with $90M this situation should not have been allowed to happen.
And since no money was given to the Commanders for the purpose it was intended, the big question is “Who pocketed the cash?”
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