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Granger calls high-level meeting to craft crime strategy

Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Brigadier Retired David Granger

Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Brigadier Retired David Granger

Amid the escalation of crime here, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Brigadier Retired David Granger has summoned his top security officials and Prime Minister for a major meeting this morning at his office.

According to a statement from the Ministry of the Presidency, as his first order of business, on his return from the Caricom Heads of Government Meeting, President Granger will convene the high-level security meeting to craft a crime fighting strategy in light of the recent uptick in violent crimes. The meeting, the statement said, will commence at 09:00h today at the Ministry of the Presidency and will include Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, Minister of State Joseph Harmon, Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan, Police Commissioner Seelall Persaud and Chief-of-Staff of the Guyana Defence Force, Brigadier Mark Phillips.

Meanwhile, Executive Member of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Anil Nandlall, has pointed out that the current A Partnership For National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government has failed to tackle the societal scourge of crime, which has taken a significant and worrisome spike since its assumption to office.

In an invited comment to Guyana Times, Nandlall who was also Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister under the previous Administration, explained that the APNU+AFC coalition had campaigned heavily on the platform of crime and security, promising to make Guyana a safe place for its citizens.

“I am sure that the fact many of them (coalition members) are trained security personnel, including the President. Unfortunately, they have failed abysmally in tackling crime and we are witnessing an uncontrollable crime situation,” he stated.

Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan

Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan

According to Nandlall, the one area that the new Government arguably has immense expertise in is crime and security, and yet the country is experiencing disastrous consequences with a rise of violent crimes.

He went on to outline that with the nation up in arms in the rise of killings and robberies of recent, the only significant response from the new Government is the enforcement of having all bars closed at 02:00h. “Unfortunately, the nation is unaware of the causal connection between the spike in those crimes and the closing of bars at 2 am. Indeed, most of these crimes are committed in broad daylight and way before 2 am,” the former Attorney General mentioned.

Ramjattan in a recent interview with a local newspaper had assured that he will do whatever it takes to reduce the high crime rate, arguing that the 02:00h deadline is the best place to start. He explained that drinking at late hours “does a lot of harm and tends to lead to a lot of things”.

The Public Security Minister explained that drinking has a direct impact on domestic violence and other violent crimes. Since Ramjattan was sworn in as Public Security Minister, there has been an upsurge in murders, robbery under arms and other crimes. Guyana Times observed that most of the crime is perpetuated in broad day light and most of them cannot be controlled. The police revealed that most of the murders are disorderly and some domestic related.

Over the past weekend, even with the 02:00h curfew being enforced, there were incidents that resulted in the deaths of three persons and several others injured. On Friday night, around 20:20h, four armed men entered a house at Bush Lot, Corentyne, Berbice, and held up the occupants – Valerie Williams, Rose Raphael, Bibi December and Shameer December. They manage to take away some $100,000 cash and a quantity of jewellery. However, as they were leaving the yard, they shot 18-year-old Dorwin Lord, who was entering the premises, in his face. Lord has since been hospitalised.

GDF Chief-of-Staff Brigadier Mark Phillips

GDF Chief-of-Staff Brigadier Mark Phillips

A few hours later, just after midnight around 00:55h, the body of Charles Caesar, 40, of Line Path, Skeldon, was found on the foreshore at Number 66 Village, Corentyne, with a suspected gunshot injury. He succumbed at the Skeldon Hospital while being treated.

Then around 18:00h on Saturday, Brazilian National Antonio Rodriguez Da Silva, 57, of Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, was involved in an argument with another man at Chinese Creek, Puruni, during which he was chopped about his body and succumbed to the injuries he received. Moving along a few hours later into Sunday, a 48-year-old businessman, Ganesh Ramlall, of La Jalousie, West Coast Demerara, was confronted in his yard by gunmen around 00:30h shortly after returning home. The man had gone to use the outdoor washroom when he was attacked and shot about this body and to his head. Ramlall was pronounced dead on arrival at the West Demerara Regional Hospital.

 Going into Monday, Caricom Day, two persons lost their lives in separate accidents. Around 01:45h, Shawn McPherson of Goedverwagting, East Coast Demerara, was travelling in a car along the Railway Embankment at Liliendaal, Greater Georgetown, when the vehicle in which he was travelling struck a horse, causing the driver to lose control and collide with an oncoming motor vehicle. McPherson was pronounced dead on arrival while several other persons received injuries and are receiving medical attention.

Police Commissioner Seelall Persaud

Police Commissioner Seelall Persaud

In the other accident, a 19-year-old Police Officer was crush to death by a truck at the Providence Access Road, East Bank Demerara. Constable Edison Williams was carrying a barricade when it reportedly hooked on a passing truck, dragging him to the ground. He ended up under the truck and his head was crushed by the truck’s back wheel.

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