National Security is the requirement to maintain the survival of the State by protecting the values expound by society. It ultimately has a strong bearing on internal insecurity where the distinctive meaning relates to the freedom from fear and the absence of threats to the acquired values and subjectively the absence of fear that such values will be attacked.
In Guyana, as in any other country, citizens have a right to be protected, to feel safe in their homes, in their communities. It is a natural expectation which the State is obligated to fulfill, of course with the support of all. While, on the surface, it may appear to relate individuals, this provision has real consequences for almost every aspect of life in the country, especially its health and development.
Guyana’s internal security apparatus is managed and controlled by the Ministry of Home Affairs and it requires a complex blend of persons, institutions, interventions and resources for the successful execution of its mandate.
Central to this mandate is the Guyana Police Force which is always under public scrutiny, and rightfully so. The Citizen Security Programme has laid the foundation for it to be a more effective and efficient institution through its Capacity Building and Modernization component.
It is important to recognize that the benefits of this intervention is more medium and long term than short term, but it is re-assuring to know that it is actively and vigorously pursued.
With an eye on the situation, Minister Rohee keeps reminding that the Force is tasked with the provision of better citizen security and more dedicated efforts must be made to reduce the incidents of robberies and other crimes in the country.
While much has been said, modernizing the Force is an essential element for its future. The recent detailing of the National Strategic Security Plan presents an exciting prospect that will see major changes in its functioning. The Capita Symonds Consultancy Report has recommended significant changes which were recognized as necessary by key stakeholders.
Minister Rohee has assured that these changes will be carefully managed. He recently announced that the process of employing ten civilian professionals to serve in the Strategic Management Department of the GPF is near complete. This has been done with the input of a respected selection panel of security, business, public service, and education personnel.
This new unit will work alongside the line management of the Force to effect the recommendations to achieve the best possible results.
In leading the security agenda, the minister recently informed on several other initiatives. He highlighted the Crime Stoppers Programme as an introduction of new ways in tackling crime. One in particular is the use of internet-enabled devices, such as cell phones, to report incidents of crime through the Online Crime reporting System. This is citizen-focused where by using the popular BBM technology, instant results can be achieved. In addition, the criminally-minded persons would be disinclined to pursue this activity, knowing that the risk of them being apprehended is high. Many other such approaches will soon be unveiled.
Collaborative efforts with external agencies are also critical. Mention was made of the US Government supported Caribbean Basin Security Initiative which has a focus on Law Enforcement Information sharing, Co-operation and Capacity Building and Crime prevention with a focus on the Vulnerable and Youths at Risk.
With the latter, much work was done by the CSP in ten communities in the country. A provisional assessment of the CSP’s interventions indicates a high degree of success as there are fewer reports of crime and violence among residents, as compared to other communities.
Through the CBSI also there is much promise of continued support for Guyana’s Forensic Lab, the Prison and Correctional Service and the fight against narco-trafficking.
Other measures that were introduced to enhance citizen security have seen the introduction of Neighbourhood Police Ranks, Station Management Committees, and the employment of Traffic Wardens to make our roadways safer. The continued push at Community Policing is also part of the strategy to involve citizens in their own security.
This Column will continue to highlight the critical issues of the nation’s security which cannot be compromised by political pettiness and posturing. Citizens have a legitimate expectation to feel safe and secure and the nation must have the ability and capacity to control the domestic and foreign conditions that the public opinion of a given community believes necessary to enjoy its own prosperity and well-being.
This is mentioned because the coming days will be crucial in terms of sending the right signals in Parliament when proposals for Budgetary allocations for the security sector will be deliberated on. Citizen security is an appropriate blend of resilience and maturity, human resources, economic structure and capacity and technological competence. These are all embedded in the thrust for a secure society and to frustrate them is almost criminal.
The citizenry will not be impressed should their concerns not be addressed adequately. Recent actions indicate that on one hand, the political opposition has been “bitching” about the driver of security matters, and not caring about the issues, and at the same time not prepared to demonstrate the willingness to contribute to the well-being of citizens.
The CSP Column takes this opportunity to wish all citizens and visitors a most enjoyable holiday period with the message of safety and tolerance. Reckless behaviour and over-indulgence have severe and sometimes deadly consequences.