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DEPUTY Commissioner of Police Paul Williams DSM, who is responsible for the force’s administration which encompasses recruitment, is initiating a process of having residents from the indigenous communities join the Guyana Police Force (GPF).
While the force currently has vacancies for 200 more recruits, that is not the main reason why Williams is pushing for the indigenous intake. It is largely to address the language barrier which currently exists within several hinterland communities between the police from the coastland and indigenous residents who seek to engage the police through ways of making reports and, seeking other services and protection by ranks serving those areas.
“When police from the city work here, really and truly they cannot communicate with you effectively because of your dialect which they do not understand. So if we have persons from these communities joining the force, we will provide you with the training in law enforcement and send you back to serve in the parts of the country along with ranks from the coastland, so that the issue of language barrier can be minimised tremendously,” Williams told some 300 indigenous residents and community leaders on Friday in Kamarang.
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He was at the time accompanying Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan, Minister of Public Affairs Dawn Hasting-Williams and Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Sydney Allicock, who travelled to the Upper Mazaruni to issue letters for firearm approvals and firearm licences.
Already, D.C. Williams has initiated a conversation on the issue with Minister Williams verbally, and that is soon to be followed up through the formal channels, the indigenous communities were told. The force will be launching an aggressive recruitment drive in the hinterland locations to ensure that the necessary procedures are followed. Williams called on the leaders in the communities to be part of the process.
“I would like to ask the Toshaos and other reputable persons to recommend the recruits, and come on board as you will know their character, discipline levels and background. We will be able to work with them and we will make the arrangements to mobilise and get them to Georgetown, where they will be trained and then sent back to serve the indigenous communities,” the Deputy Commissioner assured the residents who responded with a resounding applause.
The senior officer requested that the villagers and their leaders cooperate fully with the Guyana Police Force (GPF) in this regard. He stressed that the move is all part of ensuring that the GPF sticks to its mandate and responsibility of protecting and serving each and every citizen in this country and, where there are lapses that prevent proper service, whether in communication, crime fighting or otherwise, then the force is not fully fulfilling that mandate.
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He noted also that the move to increase the number of indigenous members in the force works both ways, as the force has seen and is cognisant of the fact that challenges do exist with regard to communication among indigenous peoples and members of the force.
He said the move is similar to where the force has to deal with foreign nationals, where interpreters have to be sourced when these persons are of interest to the police for the purpose of investigations.
“It is the same thing we are facing in the hinterland, and with our recruitment focus that is one of the things that we need to address because we want to ensure what we give is balance across the board.
It also makes it easy for us and the indigenous residents, because we don’t want them coming to a station and having to sit or wait for hours until we can find someone who can communicate with them in their language, like any other citizen in this country that is not the kind of service they deserve,” said Williams, in an exclusive interview with this publication.
Deputy Commissioner Williams, however, said that increases have been observed in the number of persons who wish to join the GPF, and unlike previous years where the force had to go hunting for recruits, persons are coming to the organisation and asking to join.
Further, the quality of these persons as it relates to their academic achievement is something that the Guyana Police Force has been impressed with.
The GPF is also now seeking to have its strength increased and that request has already been made to the government, and is waiting on Cabinet’s approval, Williams told the Guyana Chronicle.
He said that in the expansion drive of the force as it relates to numbers, the organisation is placing heavy emphasis on capacity building and cultural diversity, given the new frontiers of law enforcement and the many different areas of housing development, and communities which are opening where the police will have to be present in the execution of their duties of ensuring law and order.