‘Policia’ markings on force vehicles to cater for growing Spanish population – Benn clarifies
Guyana Police Force (GPF) vehicles are now carrying markings that read ‘Policia’ – the Spanish translation for Police in English.
And Minister of Home Affairs Robeson Tuesday explained that this is to cater for the “significant” number of people in the country who speak Spanish.
“It’s an attempt to respond to the many persons in the population who speak Spanish… it’s just a bilingual thing,” Benn told the News Room in an invited comment.
He said the move is a “little trial” as the Force works on ideas to cater for Spanish speaking persons, who are in the country, many migrants from neigbhouring Venezuela.
“The Police are working on ideas in respect to it… I think they are doing a little trial at it. There is an intention of course to reflect the significant people in our population who speaks Spanish,” Benn added.
In response, members of the public have raised concerns with many questioning why English is not used instead.
Guyana is an English speaking country; the only English speaking country on the South American continent.
The News Room also contacted Commissioner of Police (ag) Clifton Hicken for a comment.
Hicken said he is aware of the concerns raised and the Force will be issuing a press statement “shortly” to address this.
That statement detailed “in an effort to provide a more broad-based and efficient professional Police service to all Guyanese, including the influx of foreign nationals, especially those speaking Spanish, the Guyana Police Force has decided to include ‘Policia’ on all Police vehicles. The Force vehicles will have Police (in English) along with the GPF Logo. ‘Policia’ (Spanish for Police) will be placed at the bottom of the English writing.”
The statement further noted that this is also in keeping with the Guyana Police Force’s comprehensive and forward-thinking Strategic Plan 2022 to 2026.
President Dr Irfaan Ali previously indicated that the country is moving to have Spanish as its second language.
Already, measures are being implemented to make Spanish a compulsory aspect of learning.
At the launch of the Security Specific Language Programme in May 2022, Deputy Commissioner of Police with responsibility for Administration, Calvin Brutus had revealed that prospective and current members of the GPF must learn to speak a second language.
This, Brutus had said is part of a new policy being implemented by the Force.
And, at a swearing in of the latest batch of Guyana Defence Force (GDF) recruits early this month, President Ali had announced that within their first year of service, the ranks are required to learn Spanish.
The requirement was among a number of others which outlined by the Head of State, as mandatory for the military officers.