The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has called out the coalition Administration for “abysmally” failing to implement any stringent and effective crime-fighting strategies despite having a Cabinet featuring experienced national security experts.
This criticism of Government comes on the heels of a resolution passed at the Party’s Congress held in Essequibo back in December to bring attention to the horrendous crime situation in the country.
“Having regard to the fact that the Cabinet is comprised of a number of persons trained in the area of national security, who have held top positions, both in the Defence and the Police Force, this is one area in which the citizens expected this Government to demonstrate a minimum of competence. Instead, the crime situation gets worse with each passing day,” the PPP said in a statement on Thursday.
According to the Opposition, all the nation sees from Government is the “blundering incompetence” of Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan and a Police Force that is paralysed by mixed signals from the President and other members of the executive, which seems to favour criminals.
To this end, the PPP posited “in very clear and unequivocal language, the Government must unfold, immediately, a crime fighting/crime prevention strategy, now! Too many of our citizens are dying at the hands of bandits.”
The PPP went on to outline that when the Party demitted office two years ago, it left in place comprehensive crime-fighting programmes with the requisite financial support from international financial institutions.
In fact, the Opposition noted that its Government had already begun to implement most of the strategies and components of the Citizens Security Programme, which it noted as a result of ministerial incompetence seemed to be in complete disarray.
“This plan was conceived and designed by experts and contained various components which targeted for participation, a number of important agencies of State, amalgamating them as part of the crime fighting machinery of the State. An important component is to design, develop and implement an integrated crime information system to support the Ministry of Home Affairs in creating a comprehensive and up-to-date Integrated Crime Information System (ICIS), which would have been easily shared with the use of modern technology,” the PPP’s public missive detailed.
According to the PPP, it is intended that this database would have been merged with others within the governmental architecture to provide complete profiles of perpetrators and victims. The plan, it added, contemplates a collaborative working relationship with the justice system and the construction of data management centres throughout the country, while provides for specific strategic plans for the Police Force, the prisons and other agencies.
Moreover, the Opposition outlined that the Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) team was supposed to be assembled along with the operationalisation of the multimillion-dollar forensic lab.
In this regard, the PPP is claiming that not only was Government failing to implement that which it inherited, but it has abjectly failed to come up with any effective plan of its own.
“The Government’s posture sometimes demonstrates support for the criminal and on other occasions, its position can be described, at best, to be ambivalent. The pardoning of criminals, the instructions to Police Officers not to shoot at bandits, the condemnation of citizens who defend themselves against bandits and the failure of this Government to commiserate with the victims of crime, cumulatively, send the wrong signals,” asserted the Opposition.
The statement further outlined that instead of implementing the plethora of crime-fighting and crime prevention strategies which are already with the Government and enacting more legislation to deal with real criminals, the coalition Government’s emphasis is on assembling special prosecutors and fast-tracking the State Assets Recovery Agency (SARA) Bill, which will be used to target not just political opponents but the business community.
The PPP continued that over the past two years, no “serious” criminal investigations were done by the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) yet law-abiding citizens in the business community and persons who have served in the last Government are being harassed, intimidated and persecuted on a daily basis by the Unit. In the meantime, the Party posited, crime in the country continues to spiral out of control with no sensible response emanating from the Government.