President Bharrat Jagdeo has ordered a major rethink of
tactics by both the police and army in light of their failure to combat
crime and he was particularly critical of the GDF?s handling of recent
had earlier received the report on the 2002 countrywide crime
consultations and briefed reporters about the government?s concerns. He
said that despite providing all available resources to the security
forces, they seemed to be achieving little success in arresting the
The government has been severely criticised for the continuing rash of
crime. The latest episode saw two men being shot dead and eight other
persons injured in an attack on two businesses in Charlestown on
He said a review would include all aspects of the operations. ?We have
to keep working at it,? President Jagdeo said, while stressing that the
criminals were killers who had little respect for the life.
He said the security forces have been receiving all the necessary moral,
financial and even legislative support from the government.
But yesterday Jagdeo signalled his lack of satisfaction at the success
of the forces whose duty it was to curb the current crime wave.
He referred in particular to Guyana Defence Force (GDF) ranks who had
been in earshot of crimes and said the army had been sent to the East
Coast by the Defence Board, in keeping with the laws of the country and
with the intention of supporting the police in their crime fight.
assholes. President Jagdeo (left) and Brigadier Michael Atherly.
?Clear instructions,? he said had been given to ranks as to their
purpose in the operations which he had clarified with the GDF Chief of
Staff, Brigadier Michael Atherly.
Soldiers were there to prevent criminal activities in addition to
working along with the police to capture bandits, Jagdeo said. ?It is
(their) duty and order to stop....suspects.? He said any soldier who did
not respond to a crime was not complying with orders. In that case he
said they should not be part of the armed forces as they were unable to
comply with clearly defined orders. He said Brigadier Atherly had
assured him that this was not the case, and that ranks were aware of
their role, although he had information that some were acting contrary
to these instructions.
Annandale residents were incensed last week that soldiers declined to
pursue Buxtonians who had kidnapped
two boys from the village. The boys were only freed after
residents pursued the kidnappers and scared them off.
Turning to the police, President Jagdeo said that they had been
encountering major difficulties especially with several of their
colleagues being killed and others on road patrol being fired upon. He
said this was made worse through assaults on the force by the media,
some of whom apart from ridiculing the force gave the impression that
they supported the criminals.
While it was his impression that there existed problems in the police
force especially with instances of low morale, he believed that they
were giving the situation their best shot.
He pointed to the number of arrests in Divisions A and C - 4,306 for
both serious and minor offences - between November 1, 2002 to January
But Jagdeo shared the view that operational issues among other areas
might need to be addressed thus the need for the review.
Examining the situation in Buxton, the head of state said that evidence
showed that mothers were willing to put their children at risk to
facilitate criminal acts.
And he said when persons were killed by police following confrontations,
relatives were suddenly heard to say how good they were.
It was on this basis that he had ordered a rethink since the current
tactics and strategies were clearly not working.
Commenting on talk of securing overseas assistance including forces to
combat crime, Jagdeo said that there were difficulties in acquiring
support in itself much less that of troops.
He acknowledged that government had made a request for assistance from
the US Federal Bureau of Investigations to combat the spate of
kidnappings. Instead all they had received was a list of private
agencies which undertook such investigations for a fee.