Guyana’s security sector is still recovering from the extent of damage done between the years 2000 and 2008 under the Peoples’ Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) government, says the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR).
In a statement to the media today, the party said that despite the troubling period, the A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) government is committed to security sector reform; restoring law and order; and to restoring integrity and trust in the security forces. He made these statements and more at a PNCR news conference at Congress Place, Sophia this morning.
“The [PNCR] affirms that the security and safety of all Guyanese is paramount. Under the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) government, great damage was done to the security of our country, especially between the years 2000 and 2008, which we refer to as the ‘Troubles’. The PNCR recall that under the PPP/C, Guyana was infamously known for its narco-economy, violent crimes and endemic corruption,” The statement revealed.
Further, the party noted that Guyanese lost confidence in the PPP/C and voted them out of office in 2015 because the party “persistently failed to address the people’s basic needs for safety and security.”
“PPP/C now wants Guyanese to forget that it was under their watch that, contraband smuggling was prevalent; narco-trafficking and gun-running were commonplace; gun crimes were at an all-time high; drug death squads roamed the streets causing over 400 unsolved murders, including the murders of Journalists Ronald Waddell and activists Courtney Crum-Ewing; human trafficking was commonplace, with the US State Department, placing Guyana on their ‘watchlist’; crimes such as bribery, armed robbery, arson, interpersonal violence, murder, piracy, rapes all increased under the PPP/C. The Guyana Police Force was starved of the resources and training they badly needed.”
The PNCR said that is proud of what the government has accomplished in just four years, which has now seen Guyana moving in the right direction.
It noted that serious crime has reduced from over 3,600 incidents in 2014 to just under 2,700 incidents in 2018, a decrease of 25%.
“The Guyana Police Force has been expanded and given the resources and training they need to fight crime. Unlike under the PPP/C, today crimes are being solved. Specialist police units have been established to fight organised criminal gangs that once controlled our country. Due to these initiatives, there has been a 25% drop in murders from 149 t0 111; a drop in reported rapes, burglary and breaking and entering.”
Even further, the party alluded to the “thousands” of streetlights and the CCTV cameras that have been installed across Guyana under the APNU+AFC.
“In many regions, the installation of streetlights has caused a reduction in petty crimes. Residents across seven constituencies in the East Berbice-Corentyne Region are no longer afraid to venture out at night, thanks to the newly installed streetlights.”
With regards to corruption, the party acknowledged Guyana being highlighted as one of the biggest improvers on the Transparency International’s corruption index, with a 27.5% improvement in its ranking.
Meanwhile, the achievements of the National Anti-Narcotics Agency (NANA), which was set up by the coalition-government to tackle drug-trafficking, was also praised by the party.
“As a result, we have seen an increase in narcotic seizures, with over 800 kilograms of cocaine, 65,000 kilograms of cannabis and 1,900 kilograms of heroin seized in 2017 and 2018. Guyanese authorities initiated 503 prosecutions and convicted 227 individuals for narcotics trafficking during the same period.”
The PNCR, which is classified as the largest party within the APNU, noted that while there have been improvements in the security sector, more needs to be done.
“The PNCR calls on Guyanese to support the APNU+AFC and our plan to crack down on crime and corruption. We are making progress, but it is still only the beginning. There is so much more that needs to be done to make our communities and our streets safe. A safe stable community will bring with it a stable climate for the creation of real and meaningful jobs. With your continued support, we can take Guyana forward.”