Oct 07, 2017 News
By: Kiana Wilburg
In the past few weeks, several members of the Guyana Police Force have been caught displaying obscenely embarrassing levels of irresponsibility.
It is a reality that Public Security Minister, Khemraj Ramjattan is very much aware of as he told the media yesterday that “it has been a bad month for cops.”
Ramjattan said that he was particularly concerned that just a few days ago, Dellon Blake, an accused rapist, escaped from the Lusignan Prison.
Police officials confirmed that Blake, nabbed yesterday, used his bed sheet and wooden pallets to climb over the fence on the north western side of the prison.
But what was alarming to Minister Ramjattan is the fact that this was done in full view of police ranks who were performing duties in the guard hut tower, overlooking the new holding facility.
“I am concerned about the escape of that prisoner. I went there and I checked what happened. It is shocking when people can escape under the very noses of these police men and prison wardens. And I really don’t know what else to say other than the fact that you are so embarrassed by certain staff members within these units …”
“…It is horrific, the irresponsibility (being displayed by) our police officers. It has been happening too often now. I just don’t understand. And it has been a real bad month for our police men. You had drinking, accidents, cocaine going missing and then officers caught with fuel markers.”
Ramjattan said that it is going to take an individual effort to really bring about a change in the force.
“Only yesterday (Thursday) morning, I had a big talk with them at the leadership meeting that was held. I gave them a charge as to the kind of professionalism and honesty that must come from leading members of the force and that they should not engage in these embarrassing acts because they tarnish the whole force…And when you do the Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP) poll, apart from politicians, the force is perhaps the most distrusted institution in the country. It is not doing us well. We have to do greater work.”
Minister Ramjattan was also questioned whether the Ministry has sought to brainstorm other measures or means of disciplinary action against defaulting ranks. He was quick to note that this is a job for the Police Service Commission and not a politician.
Be that as it may, the Public Security Minister stated that he is already short of 400 police men.
This year alone, Ramjattan said that nine senior officers retired.
He asserted that there is a tremendous shortage of quality people in the force, particularly those who bring a vast amount of experience.
“And that is why sometimes, in moments like these, you are cornered with the decision of whether to knock off or whether to chastise, reprimand and hope that they come back and perform. It’s about giving people a second chance; I like second chances…”
Furthermore, Ramjattan stated that when one considers the reality of the force being short of 400 men and the experienced ones who have retired, it leaves a vacuum that can make one second guess whether dismissing officers for their misgivings will be in the best interest of the Force.
“These are fellas who we sent for training overseas and all kinds of things and you may very well be wasting an asset, which if given a second chance, might do better and that is what my charge was to them, among other things.”
Ramjattan says he will be watching and hoping for a change.
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