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…boycotts workshop to train police PR ranks
Guyana Press Association (GPA) Executive has written to Corporate Communications Unity (CCU) Deputy Director of the Guyana Police Force, Stan Gouveia, notifying him of its displeasure and concerns about the recent two-day “media blackout” on crime-related information meted out by the Force.
In the letter, the GPA Executive stated that no reasonable explanation has been given for the shift and Police Commissioner, Nigel Hoppie has even denied that there has been a shift. This is even as several journalists have queried about the same and made their concerns known to the communication officers/representatives at the GPF.
“The media do not operate in a vacuum, as we are here to inform and educate the public. The GPA supports media workers in their duties by ensuring we follow the various ethics and guidelines in executing that duty…the Guyana Police Force, as a primary custodian of crime-related information, has to understand its role. The recent two-day blackout of crime-related information was a slap in the face to the public at large. To date, the GPF has refused to even acknowledge our queries on this and to break its silence,” the GPA stated.
In the letter, the GPA also declined an invitation from Gouveia to involve the GPA in a training exercise as the Association pointed out that it would be inappropriate to participate such training while the Force continues its current stance. The Executive also registered its “disgust” at the GPF’s “contemptuous posture” towards the media by often refusing to respond to questions and clarifications arising from press releases. The case of a policeman’s recent shooting of a robbery suspect in a car was cited as a matter which the press has requested information but is yet to receive.
Added to this, Association said that the GPF has ceased its decades-old practise of releasing the names of victims of crimes which diminishes the credibility of the news releases disseminated from the Force. “Operatives in the Force know how to contact and have used the very media when they want to plant information and or use the media to get the public on its side. The Communication process cannot be one-way or conveniently two-way. We also use this opportunity to register our disappointment at the Police Commissioner Mr. Nigel Hoppie denying that he has been evading the media. The evidence/ witnesses are there,” the GPA Executive stated.
“Until and unless the GPA is satisfied that the Police Force, its agents and servants are responsive and transparent to our concerns as we seek to better serve the public, we will not be aiding and abetting any process by making available our expertise for the sake of being a veneer that the law enforcement agency is transparent.”