US report dubs Guyana ‘Critical threat location’ for crime
…says Govt corruption widespread
…Police officers ‘paid off’ by by criminal elements
A 2018 U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory, released by the OSAC has advised Americans travelling to Guyana to exercise normal precautions but advised that the crime situation is “critical.”
“The U.S. Department of State has assessed Georgetown as being a CRITICAL-threat location for crime directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests” the report said.
According to the report, criminal activity continues to be a major issue. Highlighting that serious crimes (murder, armed robbery) are common, OSAC said “the most recent information from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime lists Guyana’s 2013 homicide rate as 20.4 per 100,000 people — the third highest murder rate in South America (behind Colombia and Brazil) and five times higher than that of the U.S.”
It was outlined that armed robberies, including carjacking, occur regularly, especially in businesses and shopping districts. Moreover, armed robberies of business/patron establishments occur frequently in Georgetown.
“While criminals regularly use weapons, despite a rigorous licensing requirement to own firearms. Handguns, knives, machetes, or cutlasses tend to be the weapons of choice. Criminals may act brazenly, and police officers have been both victims and perpetrators of assaults and shootings. Criminals are increasingly willing to resort to violence while committing all types of crimes. Criminals are often organized, travel in groups of two or more, and conduct surveillance on their victims. Criminals generally will not hesitate to show multiple weapons as an intimidation tactic during a robbery.”
Addressing the Police response to the crimes, the report outlines that “the Guyana Police Force (GPF) has resource and manpower limitations that inhibit its ability to deter or respond to criminal activity. Even on the occasions when the GPF responds to a crime scene, victims are asked to go to the nearest police station to file a report and complete other investigative formalities. Confidence in the GPF is low due to the public’s perception of heavy handedness, ineffectiveness, and corruption.”
The report says that while the fire department generally provides a timely response, the “police response, especially during the night, is less dependable. The police response to emergency calls is often slow (15+ minutes) or not at all.”