– concerned that individuals bent on criminality are ‘hiding’ behind their uniforms
It may soon be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a corrupt recruit to enter the Joint Services.
That’s because Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan is planning drastic measures to keep deviant individuals out, and to kick out the corrupt ones who are already in uniform.
Ramjattan made no effort to conceal his disgust over last Friday’s embarrassing caper at Tuschen, East Bank Essequibo that has ensnared a member of the Guyana Police Force, and once again placed criminality in the Joint Services in the spotlight.
The rank, Police Constable Jonathan Harry, was nabbed at a road-block while transporting a wounded bandit and an accomplice.
The Special Branch rank and his gang had just fled from Tuschen, East Bank Demerara, after one of their accomplices was shot dead.
The gang was robbing the owners of a Chinese restaurant when a neighbour who owns a licensed firearm confronted them.
There are reports that Constable Harry had reported sick on the day of the robbery.
“I will certainly continue my no nonsense approach to (corruption) in the Force,” Ramjattan said, while describing the detained constable as “a rogue element.”
“All rogue elements must be forced out. We must strengthen the vetting system (for recruits)….but we will still have the ones who want to live the illegal life.”
But Ramjattan also promised that other sections of the Joint services, including the Guyana Defence Force and the Guyana Prison Service and Fire Service will also face more intense vetting.
“It has become a little too much for us, but we have to eliminate them, and prevent them from becoming members of the Joint services. What is required is morality in the individual. They must know right from wrong.
I would like a thorough investigation to find out what is the motivation (for this corruption). Do they (corrupt elements) want to hide within the Force?”
But Ramjattan said that polygraph tests would not necessarily help to identify recruits who are unsuitable for the Force,” since you could test zero (for corruption) because you come in good, but then you change (when recruited.)”
He said that the polygraph is used for senior ranks.
But the Public security Minister conceded one of the challenges to any anti-corruption drive is the fact that the salaries of policemen are still comparatively lower to those of policemen in some Caribbean territories.
“But we will seek to (further) improve salaries.
Friday’s incident at Tuschen occurred shortly after the Guyana Prison Service revealed that officials had foiled a breakout at the Georgetown Prisons.
The culprits had used hacksaw blades to saw through the bars in their cells. An investigation is underway to identify all the individuals in the plot and to ascertain how the inmates gained access to the cutting tools.
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