The Government of Guyana continues to advocate for a collective effort among several agencies including the Disciplined Services to address security concerns in Frontline Villages.
State Minister, Joseph Harmon, during a post-Cabinet press brief yesterday, said Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan reported on a visit by the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on the Security Sector to the Barima-Waini Region (Region One).
The Oversight Committee, the minister pointed out, comprises persons from the government and opposition as well as personnel from the Parliament, “so that the team led by Vice President Ramjattan went into the area, spoke to policemen, spoke to the citizens and gave them assurances that whatever was taking place there was being addressed at the Central level of government”.This follows visits by President David Granger to this region, where he outlined the Frontline Village Policy. It was also prompted by recent reports of armed gangs in the Cuyuni River that affected the work of Guyanese Miners.
Minister Harmon said the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) and the Guyana Police Force (GPF), in light of these reports, had mounted high-level visits in the area in an approach, which included participation by citizens, the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) and the Ministry of Natural Resources Corps of Wardens.
The delegation was privy to specific briefings at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that addressed the border issues and the need for them to exercise caution.
Patrolling, the State Minister assured, is a continuing feature of the joint services in these areas, however, at times there are incidences that occur on the border and due to the instantaneity of communication, calls or messages relating to the matters are sent to persons in the capital city before the Joint Services can respond.
He reasoned that “it requires, of course, time to get to the security forces where they are based for them to respond and go to the areas to deal with these matters. Of course, sometimes there are also nuisance reports, where persons who have private scores to settle make these reports.”
In light of this, Minister Harmon said, careful analysis of the reports must be conducted before the matters can be considered “actionable intelligence”. Confidence was reposed in the security forces, which the Minister said are adequately resourced to respond promptly once reports are received.
Many of the frontier villages, including Kaikan, Cuyuni-Mazaruni (Region Seven), Whitewater and Baramita (Region One), were visited by the Head of State and joint teams comprising government officials and members of the security forces.
Presently, there is a team from the Ministry of Public Health in Region One and teams from the Education Ministry have visited some of these communities, Minister Harmon informed.
These matters were dealt with at the National Security Committee meeting recently and certain decisions were made.
The State Minister noted that “what we are seeing now is the coming into action of the President’s policy on these frontline villages as well as specific actions which had been taken at the level of Government and at the level of the Parliamentary Oversight Committee”.
The president, in the Frontline Village Policy, outlined his 10-point improvement plan for frontier villages which aim at ensuring access to public services in the areas of citizenship, registration and immigration, education, human safety, information communication technology, national defence, public health, public infrastructure, social cohesion and social protection. (DPI)