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The importance of security cannot be over emphasised, especially when an event of mammoth-sized proportion is taken into consideration.  It is at these occasions that individuals of the ‘criminal persuasion’, under the cover of bustling activities, opt to unleash their worst.

Internationally, there have been reports of terrorists unleashing their wrath amidst crowds of people, causing unprecedented fear and devastation while locally, the acts of crime are mainly robbery of the person. This has over time, made imperative, the need for amped up security. Security, therefore, simply cannot be taken for granted.

It is for this reason that security will be high on the agenda during Guyana’s Golden Jubilee celebration which will embrace the theme ‘Reflect, Celebrate, and Inspire’.

Guyana, on May 26, 2016, is set to celebrate 50 years as an independent nation. A number of the activities will be centred in the capital city – Georgetown – thus, it will be a key security focus. The celebration will in fact be observed in phases and there will be no holding back on the security forces.

At least this was assured by Commander of ‘A’ Division, Mr. Clifton Hicken. The Commander, during an interview with Guyana Inc. Magazine, detailed extensive security plans to man the events that will represent the Golden Jubilee celebration. But the plans will not be limited to the related events, he revealed.

In fact, he disclosed that planning for the Jubilee celebration was not an overnight undertaking, but rather it all started coming together since last year. Hicken enlightened that jubilee security measures were incorporated in a security strategy that was crafted and implemented for the National and Regional Elections.

It was later expanded to include Operation Dragnet, which was first executed during the Christmas season of last year. Operation Dragnet is essentially a joint services operation intended to arrest criminals. While many civilians might not even be cognitive of its presence, senior military officials have assured that it is still very much in operation mode.

In fact, Hicken disclosed that activities such as increased patrols and roadblocks, in and around the outskirts of the city, were not spur-of-the-moment decisions. They were in fact deliberate measures to control criminal activities, the Commander revealed.

He intimated too that even the many breakthroughs in some high profile crimes and the interception of guns and ammunition were a part of the grand security scheme which has included the execution of warrants under the cover of night. The force has also been able to execute many calculated operations with the aid of information from the public, added Hicken.

He related that since it was long recognised that visitors would be pouring in for the jubilee celebration, areas along the East Bank corridor all the way to Timehri have been purposefully manned, Hicken shared.

It is expected that many visitors will travel by taxi or be transported by relatives or friends form the Cheddi Jagan International Airport to various parts of the country. A sizeable number are likely to be accommodated at hotels in the city, and according to the ‘A’ Division Commander, the police force does not intend to give scope to criminal manoeuvrings.

In this regard, a number of criminal activities have been foiled and the Commander disclosed that planned police tactics were behind many reports that have been in the media.

However, some business zones have also been gaining close attention from the police, such as along Sheriff and Regent Streets in Georgetown, the Commander informed.  “We have also been continuing our normal duties in hot spots and housing areas, but we have also been implementing plans for individual activities and wider activities,” said Hicken.

Added to this, Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras and the support of Community Policing Groups have also been key to advancing the security plan, said Hicken, who made it clear that part of the efforts of the Police Force is to maintain a sense of professionalism among its members. “We demand that our ranks are professional at all times…this is not about feelings; professionalism is a part of this profession and we will have it no other way,” Hicken stressed.

Although many may believe that the integrity of the security plan could be compromised if too much is revealed to the public, Hicken insisted that this may not necessarily be the case.

According to him, the public should feel some sense of comfort that the police force is working towards ensuring security throughout the Golden Jubilee celebration and beyond.

Hicken’s confidence in the security measures to cater to the jubilee celebration have been endorsed by Minister of Public Security, Mr. Khemraj Ramjattan. He has assured that the safety of visitors to these shores for the event is a high priority and will be ensured by a professional police force.

He is convinced that the quality of the police force has been improved given the exposure to training members of the force have been able to benefit from. In fact, he informed that continued capacity building for police officers has allowed for the reduction of crime this year when compared to the three previous years.

But according to Minister Ramjattan, in ensuring that the wide security plan is effective, the general population must do its part. The Minister has therefore asserted that security efforts must be a joint one, involving the support of all stakeholders.

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Columns · Issue 23 · Political · Publication · Security

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