Jan 23, 2014 News
The Guyana Police Force is advancing the implementation of recommendations made by the Disciplined Services Commission (DSC)of Inquiry of 2004.
This was highlighted at a special meeting on Saturday at which Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee met with Senior Officers of the Guyana Police Force, including Commissioner Leroy Brumell, DSM, and Divisional and Branch Commanders, to review the 71 recommendations for the improved working of the Guyana Police Force.
The highly interactive session was held at the Police Officers’ Training Centre, Eve Lear. Also participating were the Director of Public Prosecutions, Shalimar Ali-Hack, Chairman of the Police Complaints Authority Cecil Kennard and members of the civilian-based Strategic Management Department of the Police Force.
While the discussions seem belated, they were described as intense, and according to a statement from the Ministry of Home Affairs they were held in a sincere and open manner, with the view of analyzing developments that had taken place within the Force in terms of the implementation of the recommendations, and to garner additional recommended actions on the way forward.
The Minister highlighted the work of the Special Select Committee established by Parliament which reviewed the Disciplined Forces Commission report on the Police Force, with specific focus on their recommendations as to how the decisions were to be implemented, which were taken on board during the discussions.
The National Assembly had debated the Motion on June 10, 2010 to accept the report of the Select Committee on the DSC report, although the then main opposition party, People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) had argued since 2004 that it was not necessary to have a Select Committee consider the report.
During the presentation by the Force at Saturday’s forum, and arising from the interactions, a high level of appreciation was expressed for the work already done in effectuating most of the 71 recommendations.
“The Guyana Police Force is presently compiling a working document, inclusive of all the applicable recommendations made during the one-day session, in keeping with its thrust to ensure that the Disciplined Forces Commission’s recommendations are implemented,” the Ministry’s statement said.
Saturday’s engagement comes in the wake of another wave of serious allegations against members of the Guyana police force and is bound to once again be seen as a knee-jerk reaction, since it’s been almost a decade that the DSC report is still being dragged through the tedious process of further deliberation.
The decision to appoint a Disciplined Services Commission,( DSC), was one of the first agreements between the Jagdeo Administration and the PNCR under the leadership of Robert Corbin. The agreement was preceded by continuous public demonstrations and protests over the alarming rate of extra-judicial killings by ranks of the Guyana Police Force.
The fatal shooting of Shaka Blair in April 2002 at 4:00 AM in his home at Buxton by the police; the notorious killing of the ‘Mandela Trio’ after they were already apprehended; the slaying of University of Guyana Student, Yohance Douglas on Sheriff Street; the hundreds of dead bodies of young Afro Guyanese men discovered across the country; and the many others who were executed in controversial circumstances by the infamous Black Clothes Squad were among the events that motivated national outrage.
The Commission was appointed after the Leader of the Opposition nominated two representatives and the Government nominated three, including the Chairman, Justice Ian Chang.
They commenced work on July 1, 2003 to inquire into the Guyana Police Force, Guyana Defence Force, the Guyana Prison Service and the Guyana Fire Service in order to identify their shortcomings and to recommend remedies to respond to the public safety crisis.
The final report was presented to the Speaker of the National Assembly on May 6, 2004, including the Minority Report of Ms. Maggie Byrne, who had differing views on several of the recommendations.
After the report was laid before the National Assembly on May 17, and accepted unanimously, the government insisted that it should still be sent to a Select Committee, which was established on November 4, 2004.
The mandate was that the Select Committee should report to the National Assembly in four months. The four months became almost seven years and stretched over the life of two Parliaments.
Yet, after what was described as procrastination, the level of professionalism of the GPF remains questionable.
This is obvious since the circumstances, which gave rise to the appointment of the Commission in the first place, appear to be on the rise again.
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