–acting Police Commissioner says
WHILE applauding President, Dr. Irfaan Ali, for his “proactive” approach to community development, Acting Commissioner of Police, Clifton Hicken, has disclosed that efforts were being made to equip youths in vulnerable communities across the country with life skills.
During an interview with the Guyana Chronicle on Monday, Hicken said that the Guyana Police Force (GPF) has been working with President Ali and his team, to identify areas for improvement in various communities and provide assistance to school dropouts.
He explained that the aim was to expose young people to vocational training so that they can meaningfully contribute to their communities.
According to him, once this smooth transition to the labour force occurs, the youths can also contribute to the development of Guyana.
Hicken noted that President Ali has recognised the need for the youths of Leopold Street to be gainfully employed and has recommended that they be trained in carpentry, masonry, welding, among other skills.
On Sunday, President Ali visited the community and, in addition to providing assistance for the youths, he pledged his commitment to address drainage and road issues in the area, as well as housing challenges.
He invited the youths to get involved in government’s aggressive housing-construction projects which he had previously said were in need of labour.
Hicken told this publication that there will be a follow-up exercise to ensure that the president’s instructions are being followed.
“I will be working in conjunction with Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn and the Commander of ‘A’ Division to ensure that it is realised,” he said.
He used the opportunity to commend the residents who came out in their numbers to meet the President, despite the rainy weather.
The commissioner related that unemployment among the youths and flooding were the main issues raised by residents.
“We [the police] will support Minister Benn and we will get the youths employed as was instructed by the President,” he added.
Minister Benn has been appointed the government’s representative for the area and, as part of his mandate, he will regularly engage the residents of Leopold Street.
Meanwhile, in order to ensure that there is a better relationship between the police and the community, Hicken said a community relations department has been formed and, very soon, a 13-member community relations foundation will be established.
He explained that the foundation will include representatives of the American Chambers of Commerce (AMCHAM), the private sector and civil society, including faith-based organisations.
“We are going to help in relation to identifying vulnerable youths, training them and integrating them into society through the private sector, so that they can be gainfully employed,” Hicken added.