Georgetown, Guyana—(March 10, 2022) His Excellency Dr Irfaan Ali today said that there must be synergy between what the Guyana Police Force does and how the judiciary and the executive support the initiatives.
The Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces made this assertion while addressing the opening ceremony of the Guyana Police Officers’ Annual Conference 2022 at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre today.
This year’s three-day conference is being held under the theme, “Promoting Improvement of Public Trust and Confidence, Maintaining Safety and Security through Competence, Professionalism and Partnership”.
“I want to propose that we have a strategic session … the judiciary can also help us to identify areas of weakness and we can also raise concerns.”
The President added that unless all parties come together and discuss existing issues, the future direction of the different arms of Government and the role and changes that are required, it will not be possible to build an intricate model to meet the forthcoming requirements.
“I want to urge that we convene such a forum in which we can have a closed-door, open and frank discussion and strategy session on identifying cross-cutting, common issues as well as solutions.”
President Ali said too that it is counterproductive to have public debates on where the weaknesses are. Instead, he pointed to the alternative approach of strategically identifying the weaknesses and challenges and coming up with solutions.
“I position it here today that we have enough brain-power, human capacity in this room alone to do this, and we must work towards doing this very quickly. We do not need a consultancy to do this for us…”
He said that moving forward requires a collective commitment to do what is required to take the system forward. To this end, the President pledged his “full commitment” to advance this charge.
NOT BUSINESS AS USUAL
President Ali said that the work of the Guyana Police Force is linked to the nature of the economy and the country’s rapid development and transformation. He said the Force must adapt to future security requirements.
“This is critical. The work of the Force is linked to the nature of the economy and the development that is taking place, and we are seeing rapid transformation of the country not only from a physical perspective but from an economic perspective too. If you look at the sophistication of the investors who are coming, it demonstrates to you where Guyana is positioned today.”
The President emphasised that given the rapid pace of transformation, the Force does not have the “luxury of time” to gradually climb to what is required. The changes he added must be made today.
“We have to make those changes today, we have to create the environment today for what is required in 2030, and we have this responsibility to ensure that we do this.”
He said too that notwithstanding many positive developments over the last year, it can no longer be business as usual when it comes to policing. He urged those present to recognise the importance of moving away from the policy of gradualism, which finds comfort in incremental improvements in crime-fighting.
“We cannot continue on the same trajectory. There must be more rapid improvements in the work of the Force.”
The President pointed out that Guyana’s transformation will be hobbled unless security is drastically improved.
In order to improve public security, the President reiterated that the Government will be investing in the technological advancement of the Force. It will also be equipping the Force with the means, both material and human, to bring about drastic improvements in public safety. The Government will also be investing in ensuring a system of rapid and resolute response to crime.
GPF AS A CATALYST FOR CHANGE
The Head of State acknowledged that the Force has also positioned itself as a catalyst for change.
“We have seen the excellent work of the Police Force on issues of the environment; the national beautification programme and changing the medians across our country. I don’t know that we give them enough credit, both the Guyana Police Force and the Guyana Defence Force, for this type of work. But I want to say that the engineering and developmental arm of both the Police Force and the Army have been working very, very closely together.”
The Head of State also commended the Force for its successes over the last year and assured that the Government is pleased with the output. Minister of Home Affairs, the Honourable Robeson Benn; Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force, Brigadier Godfrey Bess; Commissioner of Police (ag), Nigel Hoppie, National Security Advisor, Captain Gerry Gouveia and other senior officers from the Guyana Police Force also attended the event.