Language barrier, rough terrain affecting police’s response in Region One
Navigating rough terrain in Region One (Barima-Waini) and difficulties communicating with sections of the indigenous population who do not speak English are among the challenges faced by the police in that region.
Regional Commander Superintendent Boodnarine Persaud explained that there is often difficulty in getting crime reports out from backdams to the police, as well as the police getting to crime scenes, then transporting bodies to be stored in more developed parts of the region.
He spoke about other challenges during the weekly ‘Police and You’ programme on Wednesday.
“If you have satellite phone you will get through easily, but it will be a challenge because someone will have to ride to some distance before they get a signal then they get on to the police. And to get to certain backdams, you have to use ATV and in certain places you have to walk,” Superintendent Persaud said.
This, he said, affects the police’s response to crime; majority of the time when the police arrive on crime scene the suspect(s) have long escaped due to the landscape of the region.
“Communication is very important and we get the report late sometimes.”
He said police ranks in a village called Yarakita have to place their phones in a specific angle on a playfield to get signal.
“Apart from Yarakita, they have many other areas you would have to do some ‘gymnastics’ to get signal,” Superintendent Persaud said.
Apart from the language barrier, the Superintendent also observed there is a low literacy level in several villages. This, he highlighted, is as a result of low attendance in schools.
“So, getting people to understand certain important messages we would want to send out is very difficult,” Superintendent Persaud stressed.
He spoke specifically of Baramita, one of the largest Indigenous settlements in Guyana. This particular village is of major concern for the police with it’s high suicide rate.
“The highest was in six weeks, we had six suicides in Baramita,” the Superintendent revealed.
To this end, the police have been trying to engage with residents, but since many of the people there speak the Carib language, it has been difficult.
Another area of concern for the Superintendent is traversing the dangerous trails in the region.
While there have some been efforts to improve roads in the region there are several areas, the Superintendent said: “You can topple off a hill and end up hundreds of feet below.”
He intends to teach the drivers there about defensive driving, so they can understand how to properly use the road.
Despite these challenges, Superintendent Persaud said the 106 ranks in the region have given him immense support along with the numerous community policing group.
“I hardly get any complaint of any rank reluctant to go on any duty; they are ready and willing.”