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Manufactured crime statistics

first_imgDear Editor,After my last letter on security matters, a confidential source with strong ties to the APNU/AFC Administration, who will remain anonymous, called to plead with me not to be so critical of the Minister of Public Security.He said, “Harry, Khemraj (Ramjattan) means well, but he’s not being given the support. He’s not getting the money he’s asking for to improve the sector, and he sees money being wasted and unaccounted for in other ministries. They (APNU) want him to fail. They’re using him and (Prime Minister) Moses (Nagamootoo) as pit bulls to go after Jagdeo and his boys. Haven’t you noticed? It is the Indians in the AFC that they’re using to discredit the PPP; our hands are clean.”So, after pressing for an explanation, I was told that Granger is under pressure from the PNCR executives for giving all the important ministries to the AFC, but he can’t change that now without risking the breakup of the coalition. The APNU is hoping that Ramjattan will get frustrated by his many failures, and either resign on his own, or ask be reshuffled to another ministry.This year, $37.4 billion was budgeted for the security sector. This is a big increase from the $29.1 billion allocated last year. In addition, the Guyana Police Force recently received from the People’s Republic of China generous gifts of vehicles totalling US$2.6 million, and 200 bicycles (30 of which were given to the City Constabulary) valued at over US$145,000; plus the GPF received another US$20,000 worth of electronic equipment from the United States’ Government.So, in fact, the Ministry of Public Security should not be short of resources to put systems in place to reduce crime and to secure our prisons. The problem is that this administration is incapable of dealing with the management and leadership issues that exist in the sector.Then, on July 14, the state newspaper carried a bold headline that read, “Armed robberies down by 8%”. Another section of the media coverage of this story was slightly different. It read, “The Guyana Police Force has recorded 44 murders in the past six months. And with the exception of rape and gun robberies, serious crimes were down by five percent in comparison to the same period last year.”While other sections of the media reported a two percent increase in robbery under arms in which firearms were used (298 as against 304 this year), the state newspaper had the figures reversed to show a decline of 2 percent, to let the Government look good. Even so, all Guyanese are aware of the almost daily reports of gun-related robberies and other crimes that terrify businesses and communities; and whether it is +2 percent or -2 percent, no one believes those manufactured figures anymore. Shouldn’t rape and gun-related robberies form part of the “serious crime” category, to give us a true and accurate crime report from the Police? Who is manufacturing these crime statistics to give our citizens a false sense of security?I would wager that if an opinion poll were done today, only two persons would believe these statistics: The Minister of Public Security and the Acting Commissioner of Police. But oh, perhaps there is a third, Crime Chief Paul Williams, who seems willing to compromise his professionalism and integrity by defending an out-of-control Government minister. As this matter is still being investigated by the Police, I would hope the Crime Chief has the decency to recuse himself from any part of this ongoing investigation.Whatever marginal gains the Guyana Police Force is reporting on crime statistics, even if true, they are totally unacceptable to justify the huge amount of resources allocated to the security sector. We, the citizens of Guyana, demand results. And for the Government to say that crime was also high during the PPP tenure is equally unaccepted. They are the ones that gained office with all the answers to Guyana’s problems and the security experts the likes of former Police Commissioner Winston Felix and former Rear Admiral Gary Best; but crime has since gotten worse.With the inexperienced Ramjattan now left on his own to hang out to dry, it seems that my source’s information may be credible after all.Sincerely,Harry GillPPP Member of ParliamentMember of the Parliamentary OversightCommittee of the Security Sectorlast_img read more

Mayor defends his anti-gang plan

first_imgAsked about Freeman’s comments during a separate event outside Parker Center, the mayor said his intervention and prevention plan is the best chance to curb the growing problem of gang violence. “We gleaned the best practices from around the country,” he said. “Nobody is arguing there is anything new here, but it’s the first time that we are coordinating. “People are going to have these questions and should ask these questions. But we are putting $16 million – where we don’t have very much money in our budget – where for the first time we are coordinating with intervention, prevention, suppression and not (just) leading with suppression.” In a 40-page report that outlines his strategy, Villaraigosa lists dozens of programs, including those designed to provide a combination of prevention, intervention and services. There also is information from a 2003 Department of Justice Department program that targets a high-poverty, low-income neighborhood in Boyle Heights. Police Commissioner Alan Skobin called the mayor’s plan an “important first step” in what will likely be a long process in curbing gang violence. “What’s different is that there’s an enhanced focus and prioritization … Anytime you focus on a problem you are going to get better results,” he said. “We have budget constraints and personnel constraints. You cannot turn around in one week or one month what was put together in decades – the programs and the gang problem.” [email protected] (818)713-3741 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa found himself defending his week-old gang-reduction plan Tuesday after a Police Commission member questioned its scope and effectiveness. The plan was included in the mayor’s State of the City address and includes the delineation of eight gang-reduction zones, the creation of 10,000 youth jobs and the appointment of a high-level administrator to coordinate anti-gang operations. But Police Commissioner Shelley Freeman complained that the plan relies heavily on existing intervention programs, with funding coming from federal and state grants that often have strings attached. “It feels like we are doing a lot the same,” she said. “Many of these programs have been in existence for a very long time, some of them are new. But most of these programs have been going on for many years and I would argue that some of them work and some of them don’t work.” last_img read more