Sunday, April 6, 2008
President JAGDEO on real crime solutions: WHERE IS MARGINALIZATION?
Sunday, April 06, 2008
Caribbean needs real crime solutions-
President advocates better equipped security forces, strong legislative support
PRESIDENT Bharrat Jagdeo said Thursday that the Caribbean needs real crime solutions, including better equipped security forces and strong legislative support.
We need to . . . get our hands dirty in giving our law enforcement agencies the arsenals to fight the criminals, the Guyanese Head told the Miami Herald on the eve of a special heads of government summit of the Caribbean Community in Trinidad and Tobago.
The two-day Summit, which ended yesterday, was convened in the face of increased arms and drug-trafficking, a rash of kidnappings in Trinidad and Haiti, and an upsurge in homicides in Jamaica, the Bahamas as well as here in Guyana.
We need to toughen penalties; we need very, very practical things, the President said, adding that by this he meant, inter alia, carrying out a survey of the legislation landscape across the region to come up with real solutions that all the countries can use.
Noting that concerns over privacy issues and political backlash were the main reasons why several Caribbean governments have not introduced wire-tapping legislation, President Jagdeo said:
If we have region-wide support . . . it might be easier to get it through the political processes of some countries, that they don't see it as imposition or a privacy issue at the national level, but a regional tool to fight criminals.
Earlier this year, Guyana made international headlines after gunmen killed 23 people in two separate massacres that were weeks apart. Among those killed: five children in the Guyanese community of Lusignan and three policemen in the second incident.
We have to get this gang at all cost; whatever it takes, President Jagdeo said, adding that while life appears to be returning to normal, there are still people who remain fearful. 'There is still some element of fear because these acts were designed to create fear, he reportedly told the Miami Herald.
Last year, a joint World Bank and United Nations study found that the sun-splashed region had one of the world's highest murder rates, The Miami Herald noted. According to that study, the overall murder rate for 2002, the last year for which worldwide comparisons were available, was 30 per 100,000 persons, compared with 26 in Latin America and seven in the United States.
Recognising they have a problem threatening their laid-back, idyllic living, the Florida-based newspaper said, some Caribbean nations have sought to tackle the problem by recruiting retired Scotland Yard police officers and spending thousands of dollars on consultants from the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
Criminal threats to region's progressBy Rickey SinghSTRONG WARNINGS OF the dire threats criminals pose to the economies of the Caribbean Community came from two Prime Ministers as CARICOM leaders settled down yesterday (Sat) morning to assess the challenges they face in dealing with regional crime and security.
The warnings came from both host Prime Minister of the 'crime and security summit' at the Trinidad Hilton, Patrick Manning, and, earlier, CARICOM's current chairman and Prime Minister of The Bahamas, Hubert Ingraham.
Manning, who holds lead responsibility for crime and security issues in CARICOM, told a brief public session of this 13th special meeting of Heads of Government that the region's vital tourism industry--a major source of foreign exchange earnings and employment--was particularly vulnerable to cross- border criminal networks.
Ingraham, whose country's economy is one of those in CARICOM heavily reliant on the tourism sector, called for forging of 'special alliances" for the region to effectively address issues such as criminal deportees and trafficking in drugs, arms and humans.
Reports from both the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank have already pointed to the adverse effects violent criminality was having on regional economies and stressed the importance of focused and concerted actions by Caribbean administrations.
Originally announced as a two-day summit by the Community Secretariat, the CARICOM leaders were hoping to conclude their agenda business last (Sat) night with the release of a communique outlinging decisions taken for united action.
Their summit was preceded by an informal session at Prime Minister Manning's official residentc on Friday that followed the conclusion of meetings by CARICOM's Council of Ministers responsible for Security and Law Enforcement.
Prime Minister Manning said that the challenge they collectively face was to find a "happy medium" in efffectively utilising available resources to beat back the criminals and terrorists while advancing social and economic progress.
Army impressed with new helicopter- second helicopter expected soonTHE Guyana Defence Force (GDF) has already conducted a thorough inspection and rapid test flights of the new Bell 206 B3 Jet Ranger helicopter, which arrived here last Tuesday.
This helicopter and another, which is expected shortly from Texas, in the United States, were promised by President Bharrat Jagdeo to assist in the crime fight.
The new chopperx, according to a release from the Government Information Service (GINA), is a single-engine five-seater aircraft which lifts to an altitude of 20,000 feet, and is reputed to be the most reliable light reconnaissance aircraft of its kind in the world and more economical to operate.
Among its many other assets, GINA says, is its capacity to be airborne in less than five minutes and its ability to fly for hours, depending on wind direction and other circumstances.
The Agency quotes Army Staff Officer, Special Duties, Lieutenant Colonel Claude Fraser, who was among officials conducting inspections on the aircraft Friday at Camp Ayanganna, as saying that it is important to note that the helicopter will aid in inspection activities especially in the area of civil defence.
With this aircraft, we will be able to fly over the flooded areas and get information as quickly as possible to the relevant authorities who will be able to deal with these situations, Fraser said, adding that even though itxs main purpose is to aid in the conduct of reconnaissance missions, its five-seat capacity will also allow it to transport a few persons in emergency cases.
Itxs a good asset, and it will really help to enhance our role in this crime fight. We will be able to get intelligence to operators as quickly as possible and move into those difficult areas, the Army official said.
Others are quoted as saying that a qualified flight crew and an experienced engineer will oversee the operation of the new helicopter which is also suitable for night flight provided there is visual reference to the ground.
According to Commanding Officer, Carghill Kyte, training programmes for engineers will soon be undertaken so that they are suitably qualified to operate the aircraft. Maintenance will be at the highest level.
Kyte described the aircraft as a piece of equipment which fits directly into the crime fighting role since one of its capabilities is quick reaction to confined areas, an endeavour which was difficult with the previous helicopter.
After inspecting it and going through the flight phase we are quite pleased with the purchase and we will see what happens in the duration of the operation, the Commanding Officer said.
The new helicopter is similar to the twin engine five-seater BO105 helicopter which was temporarily donated recently to Guyana by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to support the crime fight.
Very soon, the Bell 412 twin engine 15-seater all-weather helicopter which has been with the GDF for several years will be up and running after its renovation is complete.
WHERE IS MARGINALIZATION?
PART 2BY PREM MISIRLast week, we addressed ethnic distribution within the public service; we showed that Africans are not marginalized within the upper levels of the hierarchy and that there is an evolving ethnic mix in the hierarchy of control throughout the public service.
Within the school system, Indians comprised about a third and Africans over half of the school heads; with a declining ethnic imbalance among REDOs; but an imbalance of African over Indian staff at UG.
Today, we present the ethnic distribution on State Boards and budgetary allocations in Region 4.
Identifying risk factors for marginalization is a useful preventive strategy. Significant risk factors for marginalization include poverty, unemployment, sickness, physical disability, among others.
Risk factors, however, are not forms of marginalization and their presence should not be equated with marginalization. In other words, being poor and unemployed does not necessarily mean that you are marginalized. Unfortunately, many political commentators equate poverty and unemployment with marginalization.
Both Indians and Africans have a fairly equitable distribution on the State Boards in Education in 2002 and 2006. African numbers are relatively greater at the National Library, Government Technical Institute, and Queen’s College. Indians enjoy some prominence on the University of Guyana Council, Cyril Potter College of Education; and with fair representation at President’s College.
Table 1.7(a) shows that in a review of 15 State Boards in 2006, an evolving equitable distribution of ethnicity prevails. Indians outnumbered Africans on only two Boards, the National Commission on Women and GNCB; Africans outnumbered Indians on seven Boards; and with ‘Others’ outnumbering both Indians and Africans on one Board, Iwokrama. Interestingly, both major ethnic groups have equal Directorships on six Boards.
The findings in a ‘marginalization’ study of 27 different State Boards in 2002, however, showed Africans were in the majority on 13 and Indians on 12, with two State Boards having equal numbers drawn from these two major ethnic groups.
The ethnic distribution of Directorships in that 2002 study today remains basically unchanged; and the 2002 and 2006 studies, clearly, showed that Africans edged out the ethnic competition for Directorships on these Boards. A welcome development, however, is the evolving presence of minority Directors not from the two major ethnic groups.
Region Four is highlighted because it is (a) the most populated of all 10 Regions; (b) it has a significant African population; (c) it also houses Georgetown, the Capital City of Guyana and the seat of Central Government; (d) Georgetown has a large number of African dwellers; and (e) the PNCR politically controls this Region.
“Identifying risk factors for marginalization is a useful preventive strategy. Significant risk factors for marginalization include poverty, unemployment, sickness, physical disability, among others. Risk factors, however, are not forms of marginalization and their presence should not be equated with marginalization. In other words, being poor and unemployed does not necessarily mean that you are marginalized. Unfortunately, many political commentators equate poverty and unemployment with marginalization.”Region 4 budgetary allocation was $128.6M for 2006, quite comparable in Regions with a large Indian population. TheRegional Administration then assigned $79.9M in the areas of high African-concentration as indicated in Table 1.8. Projects in other parts of the Region received the residual sum of about $48.1M.
In this paper, these sample Tables are part of a larger study. But what do these Tables indicate? Clearly, that social marginalization among Africans is not evidenced in the public sector.