The Ministry of Public Telecommunications is collaborating with the Guyana Police Force (GPF) to curb crime in Guyana through the intervention of an Intelligent Surveillance System. This forms part of the Safe City Component of the National Broadband Project.
According to the Ministry of Finance’s Mid-year report, “A command centre will be established for the Guyana Police Force (GPF) in the first quarter of 2020. The sum of $85M has been allocated for its construction and bids for the required civil works are currently being evaluated.”
In the interim, the command centre operations are being conducted from the National Data Management Authority’s (NDMA) Network Operations Centre.
The initiative was made possible through collaboration between the governments of Guyana and China more than two years ago, which saw the installation of over 100 Surveillance Systems (CCTV cameras) at various selected sites.
At the launch of the Intelligent Surveillance System last month, Minister of Public Telecommunications Catherine Hughes was quoted by the Department of Public Information (DPI) as saying, “This is an exciting time for Guyana as Information Technology is positively introduced to the security sector to aid an effective transformation to reduce crime.”
The mid-year report also revealed that together with the expansion of the security infrastructure, 10 long term evolution (LTE) towers were upgraded with new radios particularly for the security sector and permission is being sought to utilise seven towers from the local telecommunications company to install the remaining LTE equipment.
The initiative will accommodate the use of broadband handsets by the GPF allowing for additional information to be channelled to the command centre. Also completed is the outfitting of 48 coastal LTE towers with microwave equipment to double the available bandwidth.
Additionally, 11 fire stations, seven police stations, and a training centre were provided internet access through the e-government network aimed to improved productivity, efficiency and delivery of public service.
The incorporation of technology into law enforcement comes at a time when government is moving to provide a series of capacity programmes as part of ensuring that citizens are prepared to compete in the 21st century environment.
The report indicated that the Coding Camps that began in 2017 were expanded from being provided only during the August holidays to now being offered throughout the year. During the period under review, training programmes were conducted in Regions 2, 4 and 6, with 350 students trained in Office tools, website creation and web development. In the second half of the year, the government will be extending its outreach and training programmes to hinterland communities.
Technology has also been touted as a business enhancement tool in the agricultural sector. The report shows that during the first half of the year, the government provided technical support to the launch of a pilot for the Agricultural Commodity Exchange as part of its policy to promote local business development and market access. The primary focus of this product is the use of technology to bring farmers and buyers together to conduct commercial transactions. This product was designed by a local company who won one of last year’s Hackathons and, in the first half of 2019, 116 farmers were trained in the use of the online platform.