Appointment of civilians to head Police PR unit keeping with UK recommendations – Top Cop
Commissioner of Police (ag), Nigel Hoppie, has sought to defend the recent appointments of civilians, Mark Ramotar and Stan Gouveia, to the Guyana Police Force’s Public Relations Department.
He said the appointments are in keeping with the recommendations made back in 2019 by two United Kingdom (UK) media and communication consultants. In February this year, the Force announced that Ramotar, a former Editor-in-Chief of the State newspaper, was appointed the head of its PR department with Gouveia serving as his deputy. Gouveia has almost three decades of Broadcast Journalism, having spent two-thirds of that time at the Guyana Broadcasting Corporation/National Communications Network Inc.
The news received some criticisms considering that the two are merely civilians with no police training, but the Top Cop on a recent radio programme, dubbed ‘Police and You’, explained that the appointment is in keeping with the recommendations made by the two consultants.
“Plain and simple, those appointments were made from the recommendations in a report compiled by the consultants.
“There were several recommendations made, but I know for certain that one of the recommendations would have been that civilians occupy the upper echelons of the Public Relations Department.”
In 2019, the force underwent training in Media Relations and Communications Skills, facilitated by Dr. Joan Boyd and Ms. Susan Corbett; the two consultants had worked with the force with the aim of advancing their capabilities in the disciplines of communication and public relations along with necessary departmental upgrades to fall in line with modern policing.
In a statement following the appointments, the government had said that the creation of a new PR unit stemmed from the demands of accountability, transparency, and regular dissemination of information, as well as recommended Police reforms.
The Unit’s mandate is aimed at building a harmonious and friendly relationship with the community this is an important aspect of law enforcement.
Further, the government said that while police officers have usually taken up the PR mantle, it was best for the functions to be performed by duly trained and qualified civilians.
Ramotar has a Master Degree in Business Administration (MBA), as well as, specialised training/certification in Project Management, Philosophy, Conflict Resolution and Digital Marketing. Gouveia holds qualifications in Communication Studies from the University of Guyana, and several certifications in journalism and healthcare (having worked in the field of HIV/STI Counseling/Testing and Treatment.