The Ministry of Home Affairs is seeking to broaden its engagement with the private sector to deal effectively with the country’s security situation.
Addressing the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s 2013 security seminar at the Pegasus Hotel yesterday, the Home Affairs Minister said that while his Ministry has been engaging the private sector meaningfully, a practical way to tackle the security dilemma is to build on the partnership that has already been established.
According to Rohee, the Ministry of Home Affairs has become very open since he took over the portfolio as Minister in 2006, and this has led to the opening up of several avenues for cooperation with the Private Sector. In fact, the relationship is of such that the private sector is represented on the Ministry of Home Affairs’ panel to interview prospective employees for the various agencies that fall under the Ministry’s umbrella.
Representatives from the private sector also engage the various task forces that were established by the Ministry such as the Task Force on smuggling and contraband. They also sit on boards within the Guyana Fire Service, the Guyana Prison Service and the Guyana Police Force.
“We invited Private Sector representatives to engage regularly with these task forces to share their experiences and to tell us how we can help them….so that the private sector is by action and by deeds, a partner of the government in the security sector. They are a living partner with the Ministry of Home Affairs,” Rohee stated.
According to Rohee, formulation of government security policy also sees the local private sector playing an integral role.
“For us, this partnership is not a sporadic exercise, it is an ongoing, sustained living exercise which we go through every day,” he said.
However, he warned that unless the two sides are “singing from the same hymn sheet”, the fight against crime will be useless, because according to Rohee, criminals take advantage of situations where there is disunity.“Criminals are happy when there are divisions in the security sector; they are happy when institutions in the security sector are in disarray and not coordinated.”Rohee said that this is why the administration is looking at the private sector to not only help to formulate policy, but implement it through their regional, institutional or individual constituents.Recognizing that the Private Sector is a significant employer of workers in Guyana, the Minister said that they have a right to demand security services of the highest calibre from the state, to supplement their own private security arrangement.The Private Sector, he said, also makes a significant contribution to the nation’s coffers through the taxes that they pay.“And if you pay taxes, you expect representation,” Rohee said.
The minister noted that one of the most important developments within recent times that could certainly contribute to the deepening of the partnership between the government and the private sector is the citizens’ security programme and the proposed reforms within the Guyana Police Force.The minister however urged patience with respect to the reorganization of the Force.“These reforms will take time for us to actually feel the effects,” he cautioned.Yesterday’s seminar also saw presentations from the Ministry’s information technology team, which highlighted some of the initiatives taken to enhance the fight against crime.
Presentations were done on the integrated crime information system as well as strategic data analysis.In his brief opening remarks, GCCI’s Senior Vice President Lance Hinds underscored the importance of the forum, noting that security is one of the most cross-cutting issues affecting many sectors in Guyana.It was Hinds who first highlighted the need for the security challenge to be collaborative and cooperative.