Inspectors, sergeants should be peacemakers – Minister Benn urges
Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn (seated centre) flanked by senior GPF officers, along with inspectors and sergeants at the conference held at the Police Officers’ Mess Annexe, Eve Leary
Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn (seated centre) flanked by senior GPF officers, along with inspectors and sergeants at the conference held at the Police Officers’ Mess Annexe, Eve Leary

MINISTER of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn, stated that his ministry would continue to support the efforts of the Guyana Police Force in strengthening its relationship with the public while urging inspectors and sergeants to be peacemakers in a multi-ethnic, multi-racial, dynamic, and young country.

Benn made those remarks during his feature address at the Inspectors’ and Sergeants’ Conference, which began Wednesday at the Police Officers’ Mess Annexe, Eve Leary.

After a 12-year hiatus, the theme for this year’s conference is ‘Developing Middle Management for Greater Efficiency through Strategic Partnerships, Accountability, and Performance.’

The Inspectors’ and Sergeants’ Conference will conclude on February 4th.

While commending the progress made thus far in this regard, Minister Benn said that while Guyana has had challenges along the way, the “One Guyana” vision of President, Dr. Irfaan Ali, is significantly dependent on a safe, stable nation where people have faith in the competence of those placed with maintaining the security of the country.

“I want to recognise the achievements we’ve had in the last two years, where we have reduced crime and violence by 20 per cent in Guyana, where we have reduced road traffic deaths below 100 persons dead on the roadways after 16 years of carnage on our roads, in spite of an increase in vehicles and practical challenges. We have done those things, the police force has done those things,” Minister Benn said.

Minister Benn alluded to the fact that, “If we do not have peace in Guyana, we will not have progress, we will not have prosperity.”

Benn further noted that having peace will guarantee progress, essentially guaranteeing future generations’ prosperity.

“If peace is not guaranteed, all else will fail,” Minister Benn posited. “You are the peacemakers; you are peace officers; you are peace officers in a multi-ethnic, multi-racial, dynamic, and young country, and most of our population are young people.”

Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn

Minister continued: “I would like, as I mentioned to the commissioner of police, to see, under the pictures (the pictures of the president and subject minister) a welcome sign at the police stations.”

A ‘Welcome’ sign should be displayed at each police station because police serve members of the public, regardless of how bad or problematic they may be or if they suffer from mental or other problems, Minister Benn told the assembled inspectors and sergeants.

Minister Benn highlighted that the government has thus far taken the necessary steps to improve the Force’s resources, and while the government would give the best environment, including modern police stations and vehicles, he pointed out that Police officers’ attitudes must not get in the way of effective policing.

He further stated that the government is elated to see ranks advance themselves professionally.

“There’s a lot of things going for contemporary policing interventions in relation to information technology and in particular training, but it will all go to naught if you have the physical assets and the vehicles and the best legally trained and other trained managers….nothing matters if at the middle level, the purpose, the direction, the willingness, the activity, and the direction do not integrate what has to happen at the bottom in terms of actions to guarantee security,” Minister declared.

During his brief remarks, Acting Commissioner of Police Clifton Hicken, noted that the Executive Leadership Team (ELT) during the conference will be working to realise mitigation strategies to ensure that divides are filled.

The ‘Top Cop’ further noted that the ELT would develop capacity among the inspectors and sergeants in the process of work plans and at the same time prepare them for succession.

Alluding to the theme of the conference, Mr. Hicken noted it speaks directly to the strategic plan for 2022 to 2026 in a condensed way.

National Security Adviser, Captain Gerry Gouveia; Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Home Affairs, Mae Toussaint Jr. Thomas; Deputy Commissioner ‘Administration’, Mr. Calvin Brutus; Deputy Commissioner ‘Operations’, Mr. Ravindradat Budhram; Deputy Commissioner ‘Law enforcement’, Mr. Wendell Blanhum; Head, Special Branch, Mr. Errol Watts; Head, Special Organised Crime Unit, Mr. Fazil Karimbaksh, along with other senior and junior officers of the Force and special invitees, were present at the opening ceremony.


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