Following an advisory, by the Canadian High Commission urging its citizens traveling to Guyana to “exercise a high degree of caution due to high crime rates”, Guyana’s Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan has supported the call to be cautious noting that “they’ll have to take care”.
The advisory stated, “that crime levels in Guyana are high”. It highlighted that “assaults, pickpocketing, purse snatching, break-ins, armed robberies, car thefts and carjacking are common occurrences”. Adding that “foreigners and returning Guyanese citizens are favourite targets for criminals” noting that “violent attacks have also occurred on the road to and from Cheddi Jagan International Airport and on the Linden Highway, especially at night”.
According to the Minister, “the sensationalization in the newspapers have created massive concerns. I can understand that… Indeed the crimes that have been committed, which are in reduced amounts, have been with a cruelty and of a horrific nature that have taken on new proportion”.
However, he remains confident of returning Guyanese. During a telephone interview, he expressed confidence that persons will return home for Guyana’s 50th celebrations, as he assured that measures are being put in place to address the growing and legitimate concerns.
Highlighting one of the ongoing security projects, the Minister explained that ‘Operation Dragnet’ saw ranks of the army working with the Police Force to assist the in the fight against crime from December 1, 2015 to June 1, 2016. Adding that there other activities to ensure the public’s safety but “things that I just can’t give off publicly”, he stated.
Clearing the air on questions raised about solved cases and the sudden possibility, Minister Ramjattan said that the police officers are now being motivated by the required resources, and training opportunities abroad, along with increased comfort level provided by the Administration. “The comfort level have been increased because this ministry does not interfere with the operational matters, nor does it interfere with investigations and the public have also become more aware of the need to give information to the police about who and who are committing, who and who are suspects and their whereabouts, and that’s what is causing the police to catch these criminals”, he said.
Despite the Force’s success in arraigning some of the perpetrators, who were eventually charged in most cases, the statistics released by the entity is still somewhat worrisome. The report noted that there was a total of 825 crimes committed in the first quarter of 2016 compared to 963 during the same period in 2015. This accounted for a 14% decrease, however there have been a significant number of criminal activities during the month of April.
In the meantime, persons are being reminded that the venue for the upcoming Jubliee Festival has been declared a ‘NO WEAPONS zone’.