Overhauled security measures needed at M&CC – Councillor
Flawed security arrangements at the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) has raised concerns over the protection of valuable assets and important documents, some of which have been stolen in recent time.
This was shared by one of the Councillors, Bishram Kuppen, as he highlighted the need for a vigilant approach to secure the Council’s resources. This fear came amid a break-in at the Mayor’s office just a few weeks ago, where important files pertaining to the Local Government Commission were stolen.
“There is need for the security policy to be developed. In fact, our position has always been that the entire City Council and the various departments need to be overhauled because if you look at the occurrence of crime in the city, it is very high and there are no effective ways for the City Constabulary to handle it. Now, we’re having a problem where the Mayor’s office was broken into,” Kuppen related.
The incident was confirmed by a senior police rank, who told this publication this week that an investigation was launched. The Mayor noted that from all indications, no other items were removed from the office. He stated that the perpetrators gained entry to his office via a window from his washroom. Due to the lack of security cameras at the facility, he instructed that the windows be barred thereafter to prevent such occurrences in the future.
However, Kuppen stated that some persons are of the opinion that the robbery was orchestrated by employees to hide incriminating information.
“While the limited details that was there sounded somewhat unusual, there is something that is more to it. It does not appear to be an outside job. It appears to be something on the inside and the Mayor possibly would have had some incriminating documents that would have caused concerns. That is why people are suggesting that the files were removed.”
Last year, the Commission of Inquiry into City Hall’s operations unearthed information that employees of the council had broken into a training centre on Water Street and removed books from the archives. According to the Councillor, this speaks to the necessity for amplified safekeeping measures.
“Definitely, the city council compound needs to be secured. The Mayor’s office and important documents needs to be secured. We would recall that during the CoI last year into the operations of the council, there were reports that the archive area was forcefully opened by members of the Town Clerk’s office and files were removed,” he stated.
The Finance Committee had inked on their Thursday agenda, yet another break-in, this time in one of the Stabroek Market stalls. Adding to that, discussions are underway to reshuffle the structure of the City Constabulary.
“I think it is not just the office but the entire complex needs an improvement in security. We have a breakages inside the market. In fact, one of those issues will come up at the Finance Committee meeting. It has to do with security again, where a major stall was broken into at Stabroek Market. There is need for attention and a restructuring of the City Constabulary in the security arrangements that they have for the offices. There are plans to integrate both the security section and the regular force into one from a financial perspective for better affordability and also to have one operating procedure for all.”
Last July, L Seepersaud Maraj and Sons Jewellery Store was robbed of $22 million in jewellery after bandits broke into the stall and torched the vault with the security personnel at the market claiming that they were unaware of the theft. Three persons were later charged.