Benn defends Gov’t spending to ‘keep the peace’ as Ramjattan says APNU+AFC strategies ‘needed’
Home Affairs Minister Robeson Benn defended the government’s $90.6 billion allocation to the security sector, stating that huge investments are needed to “keep the peace” in Guyana after the APNU+AFC coalition government “undermined” Guyana’s security forces.
But Opposition Parliamentarian, with shadow responsibility for public security, Khemraj Ramjattan said the PPP/C government should embrace more of the APNU+AFC Coalition’s crime-fighting strategies.
Both men spoke during the second day of the 2024 Budget Debates in the National Assembly at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre at Liliendaal.
Ramjattan, who is a former Minister of Public Security, started Tuesday’s debates with general comments on the 2024 trillion-dollar budget before zeroing in on the security sector.
According to him, the government should embrace APNU+AFC strategies to curb crime.
Of particular note, Ramjattan said, was the APNU+AFC gun amnesty strategy which netted 186 weapons. He opined that such a move would help to reduce the amount of illegal firearms in Guyana.
Ramjattan also called on the government to utilise the Parliamentary Public Security Committee so that stakeholders can strategise more effective crime-fighting strategies.
Benn, however, did not agree with either suggestion.
“Amnesty is for another time,” he said.
According to him, an amnesty would not allow the security forces to determine the “lineage” of the weapons.
He said the allegations made by Shonette Dover’s alleged killer, Shaquawn Alleyne popularly known as ‘ISWE, evidences this posture.
Alleyne was charged with murder and remanded on Tuesday but he also implicated two other men, who are both residents of Linden in the crime. One of the men, a resident of Block 22, Wismar, Linden, allegedly bought the gun that was used to shoot Dover from Alleyne before he fled to Suriname. After that man learned that the weapon might have been the murder weapon in the case, he allegedly sold it to another man.
On the parliamentary committee, Benn questioned whether they should be engaged.
“Should we really be speaking to them in the Parliament? In a committee? Or should they be in the courts, facing the judiciary for their attempts to take away democracy,” Benn said, in reference to the APNU+AFC’s attempts to derail the 2020 General and Regional Elections.
He continued, “They had practically destroyed, subdued, and corrupted the disciplined services.”
Instead of those measures, Benn affirmed that the government is investing wisely in new vehicles, technology and facilities to aid the disciplined forces.