President Dr. Irfaan Ali yesterday announced a range of measures to not only fight crime but reform the lives of criminals.
The Head of State said that very soon, a programme aimed at reforming the lives of criminals will be launched. That initiative, he said, will be based on confidentiality, where persons can have engagements with the authorities to have access to an alternative pathway at earning a legit income and living a decent life.
“Once you want to change your life, we want a discussion with you. We want to talk to you to give you an alternative pathway to earning an income and living a decent life. The life of crime is short-lived, you may have in your head short-term glory, but it’s short-lived. We want to work with you in giving you a better option at life.”
Additionally, the President also said that there will be a period for gun amnesty, where persons with illegal firearms can turn over their weapons. Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall has already been charged to examine the existing laws and make amendments to ensure that the full force of the law is applied to persons with illegal weapons.
“I have asked the Attorney General to look at the laws and to propose an amendment to apply the highest penalty for persons found with illegal weapons because that is a major contributory factor [for crime].”
President Ali also presented crime statistics and pointed out that crime has had an overall 19.4% decrease from 2020 to 2021. This, he said, has been achieved although his Government inherited the Guyana Police Force (GPF) with more than 90% of their vehicular assets not functioning as they should.
Despite this decrease in crime nationwide, President Ali stated that regions 1, 6, 7, and 9 have had increases.
He said that the GPF would employ targeted approaches in dealing with the increases in those regions.
“When we came into government, more than 90 percent of the assets of the Guyana Police Force was out of order. This is what we encountered: more than 90 percent of the vehicular assets, the motorbikes, were out of order. They were fighting crime with 10 percent capacity…Notwithstanding that, we buckled down. We made the investments. We invested in vehicles, we invested in technology, and we went out on our mission to reduce crime regionally,” Ali said.