New crime-fighting team not a ‘parallel police force’ – Pres. Ali
President Dr. Irfaan Ali has stated that the regional joint support team, a new crime-fighting initiative, is not a parallel police force. Instead, he said it is a broadened inter-agency unit that will aid in crime-fighting efforts.
On Monday, during a press conference, the President contended that the nature of crime is changing and that it is expected that crime will become even more “sophisticated” as Guyana develops.
In preparation for this potential adverse occurrence, Dr. Ali explained that the government has moved to create the regional, integrated crime-fighting units.
“… (they) are fused together with officers from various agencies, with different skill sets so that you can have a combined approach to intelligence-sharing, crime-fighting and rapid response in any situation,” he highlighted.
This new crime-fighting initiative was recently revealed in the National Assembly by Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance Gail Teixeira, who had revealed that the unit was crafted to aid the crime-fighting capacity of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) and would comprise members of the GPF and the Guyana Defence Force (GDF).
But there have been concerns that the joint support units could undermine the work of the police force.
Dr. Ali, however, stated, “It cannot and will never be parallel to the Guyana Police Force.
“The Police force is actively involved in this regional support team.”
In addition to police officers, the Head-of- State explained that the team includes officers drawn from the agencies that deal with intelligence gathering, drug enforcement and the wider joint services.
“The unit is highly trained and will be highly trained to respond to various security challenges,” President Ali assured members of the media.
These units have not been fully operational as yet but a sitting of the National Assembly, earlier this year, Minister Teixeira requested a supplementary provision for the period ending December 2021 requested to allow for the “set up” of this regional joint support initiative.
Meanwhile, at the sidelines of a recent event, Minister of Home Affairs Robeson Benn told the News Room that legislation for the regional joint support team was in the works and should be finalised soon.
Then, however, the Minister could not state who would be selected to head this team. President Ali did not state whether any had been selected either.