Fighting crime is expected to become easier if the government successfully executes its ambitious “Safe Country” programme which will see the installation of cameras throughout the country to augment the Guyana Police Force (GPF)’s crimefighting capabilities. The project is considered an expansion of the existing “Safe City” Initiative implemented in the nation’s capital.
According to the President, Dr Irfaan Ali, the project has been successful in curbing city crime and a national implementation could see crime reducing significantly.
“In areas that are covered under the Safe City Programme, we’re having better results. That is why, to address all the regions, nationally, we’re going to have a Safe Country Programme. We’re going to have the entire country connected under CCTV cameras so that all of the country will be under watch by the relevant authorities so that we can be proactive in our crimefighting.”
The Safe City Initiative includes the use of facial recognition technology (FCT) only at ports of entry. It is unclear if similar identification software will be added to this much larger project, but FCT harboured criticisms last year with some labeling the use of the technology as a “breach of privacy”. The Telecommunications Ministry subsequently sought to quell apprehension by touting the benefits that could stem from FCT. It assured the nation that the technology was implemented to ensure safety and to assist regional and international sister law enforcement agencies in identifying and detaining persons of interest.