Despite the occurrence of two major national security calamities under his watch, the Alliance For Change (AFC) still believes their Chairman Khemraj Ramjattan is fit to serve as Public Security Minister.
A motion to that effect was unanimously approved at the party’s third National Executive Committee meeting on Saturday at the Georgetown Club, the AFC said in a statement.
The coalition partner said despite the challenges faced regarding the latest jailbreak which completely destroyed the city’s only penitentiary, public order was restored and most fugitives were recaptured.
“The recapture of most of the escaped prisoners was done in a relatively short period of time and largely without incident,” the AFC said.
Ramjattan is facing increasing calls to resign as head of the country’s security sector in light of the jailbreak which occurred on July 9 whereby six of the country’s most dangerous criminals escaped and one prison officer killed. Days after, an additional 13 high-profile prisoners who were relocated to a temporary holding facility in Lusignan escaped by digging a hole under a fence. To date, four prisoners remain at large.
The parliamentary opposition was quick in its bid to blame the minister for the series of unfortunate events and Ramjattan had even accepted responsibility, conceding that the buck stops that him.
But compounding the situation was the fact that the recent jailbreaks came on the heels of a three-day prison riot last year at the Camp Street Jail where 17 prisoners lost their lives.
Ramjattan had, in a move that received widespread criticisms, led a delegation of senior government officials including the State Minister Joseph Harmon to negotiate with the inmates who were demanding better conditions.
Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo had strongly condemned this approach, explaining that it only creates a moral hazard as it gives the prisoners bargaining power to start a commotion whenever it wants the government’s attention.
In addition to the two incidents, Ramjattan has been chastised for not doing a good job at keeping petty crimes at bay.
The Guyana Police Force (GPF), at the end of May 2017 relative to the same period last year, recorded a 14 percent increase in robberies where no instruments were used; a 60 percent increase in robbery with violence; a 10 percent increase in robbery with aggravation; and a 60 percent increase in larceny.