BUDGET 2018: $30.7B for security sector

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Under the sub-heading ‘Safeguarding Pubic Security, Rebuilding Public Trust’, the National Budget for 2018, which was presented by Finance Minister Winston Jordan on Monday, has seen government allocating $30.7 billion to the security sector.

The monies, according to the Finance Minister, are to implement several initiatives in the security sector.

Police

With respect to the Guyana Police Force, 2018 will see all police stations across the country benefitting from increased vehicular access to support their response time to crimes. With the remodelling of six police stations in 2017, 2018 would see another six being remodelled.

The police stations at Cove and John, Lethem, New Amsterdam and Matthews Ridge are also on the cards for rehabilitation, while the construction of a new police station at Parfaite Harmonie will be constructed to cater for the growing population in that area.

$200 million was budgeted for the purchasing of equipment for the Guyana Police Force in the 2018 budget and this will supplement the generous gifts received recently from the Peoples Republic of China, which saw the delivery of vehicles, riot gear and other equipment worth $500 million.

Prison

The Guyana Prison Service has been allocated $1.5 billion to address the expansion and rehabilitation of the prison infrastructure.

That sum would cover the expansion of the Mazaruni Prison to accommodate 400 inmates, which represents 61 percent more than its current capacity. Additionally, work on the construction of a new Georgetown prison is likely to commence in 2018.

There will also be a 150 million allocated for the procurement of surveillance equipment, body scanners and bed among other items.

Minister Jordan, in his presentation, spoke to provisions for the strengthening of the Prison Service’s capacity for case management, as well as rehabilitation and reintegration.

The Prison Service will also be receiving $1.8 billion to cater for the operational costs of the prison, a 4.6 percent from the previous year.

Fire

Guyana is likely to receive its first fire boat as catered for in the 2018 budget and for that project, the government has allocated $165 million for the final payment to acquire the vessel.

The boat, according to the Finance Minister, will be fully equipped and will form part of the package of interventions to improve the capacity of the fire service and its response to fires, both on the waterways and bridges and along river banks.

Government has also allocated $60 million for the expansion of the fire service coverage to residents of Melanie Damishana, Mabaruma and, according to the minister, Onverwagt for the first time.

There was no mention of bringing fire fighting relief capabilities to Port Kaituma, which saw its fourth devastating fire in recent times.

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