Dec 07, 2023 Letters
Is the Government of Guyana contemplating establishing a parallel army? Anil Nandlall SC MP, Attorney General and Minister of Justice recently posited on his television programme Issues in the News that he will shortly pilot a Bill in Parliament for the formation of what he called a Border Patrol. This announcement was made in the heat of threats made by Venezuela to unilaterally annex the entire Essequibo region and to issue Venezuelan’s identification cards and citizenships to all persons living in Essequibo.
He gave very little details about the Bill but indicated that the Border Patrol will be responsible for patrolling the territorial border of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana. This is shocking as members of the Guyana Defence Force and the Guyana Police Force have been individually and collectively patrolling our border. They have bases and police stations at various strategic locations on our border. As a constable, subordinate officer and officer I was honoured to perform duties at several border locations.
There are many overhanging questions that are crying out for answers. Among them are: Will the Border Patrol be an autonomous body? Will it usurp the constitutional roles of the police and the army that they have been performing over the years. Where will the personnel come from? Will the members be recruited from the understaffed army and police, members of the public including thousands of Venezuelans many of whom have been issued with National Identification Cards and made citizens of Guyana? Will foreign nationals form part of the Border Patrol? Who will head the Unit and what will be his/her qualification? What will be the organisational structure of the unit? Will it be politically controlled? Were there wide-ranging consultations before the drafting of the Bill?
I have not seen the contents of the proposed Bill. Perhaps, it is at this time confidential like the so – called RSS report on the conduct/misconduct of the police in relation to the “Paper Shorts ” execution that the President said must be released to the public but which the Minister of Home Affairs refused to make public. Apparently, these answers are buried deep in the head of the AG, where Paul Slowe said he is residing rent free. Fortunately, the proposed Bill has not yet reached the Parliament. I pray that it remains where it is. Let me conclude with this message to Venezuela. Essequibo belongs to Guyana and that is how it will remain. We are not giving up a blade of grass. May God help and bless Guyana.
Assistant Commissioner of Police.
AUBREY NORTON FRIGHTEN RENEGOTIATION AND RING-FENCING
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