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Government is set to expand THE Safe City Programme beyond Georgetown and some $2.5B has been allocated for this, Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh has said.
In his budget speech last Wednesday, Dr Singh said the role of ICT in security and crime fighting capabilities cannot be overemphasised. He said the $2.5 billion will see the entire country being connected to CCTV cameras monitored centrally as well as at Regional Command Centres to be established across the country. Moreover, satellite phones and body cameras will be acquired to boost operational efficiency across all Regional Divisions.
Dr Singh said in 2022, $4.9 billion has been allocated to strengthen the assets of the Guyana Police Force In this regard, works will commence on a multi-storey building to consolidate the operations of the Brickdam Police Station which was gutted by fire in October 2021 and for which over $400 million is allocated.
To support the efforts of the GPF, in 2021 the government had promised to resuscitate community policing groups, nationally. “Mr. Speaker, 176 groups were active at the end of 2021 while another 175 are targeted for 2022. To this end, we allocated $99 million to support these groups who have proven to be effective across many rural and hinterland communities.”
Singh said training also remains a key strategic imperative of the Guyana Police Force and to
this end, a sum of $120 million is budgeted in 2022 towards the training of ranks while additional ranks
will be added to ensure greater coverage across communities. Furthermore, training in the areas of
crime and traffic management will continue to be facilitated both locally as well as with international
Meanwhile, regarding the Guyana Prison Service the finance minister said transforming the penal institution into a correctional facility that reforms the mindsets of inmates to benefit all of society post-incarceration is a core objective. During 2021 over $2 billion was expended mainly to complete the first block of the Mazuruni prison and to commence construction of three prison blocks at Lusignan.
In 2022, a further $2.3 billion is budgeted towards enhancing prison infrastructure. “Works will
continue on the Lusignan Prison which will be transformed into a modern facility to house both male
and female prisoners including a vocational school, an infirmary annex, prison headquarters and
command centre. Additionally, works are ongoing at Mazaruni Prison on a second prison block. We
will also invest in the training of 1,400 inmates in areas such as anger management, literacy and
numeracy, tailoring, among others, at a budgeted sum of $88.9 million in an effort to reduce recidivism,” Dr Singh.
For the Guyana Fire Service, Dr Singh said in 2021 the operational capabilities of the fire service were severely challenged. “Our Government reviewed the situation and took concerted action to identify interventions to arrest this challenge. In 2021, over $140 million was allocated for installation of 139 new fire hydrants in housing areas and for repairs to 51 fire hydrants. This year, $100 million is allocated for additional installations in order to ensure adequate water supplies in the event of a fire.”
He said to augment the capability of the fire service, especially at time when our landscape is changing
towards modern, high rise buildings, $255 million will be invested to procure a hydraulic platform to bolster our firefighting capabilities. Additionally, water bowsers, ambulances and an all-terrain firefighting vehicle will be procured in 2022. “Mr Speaker $614 million will be expended to relocate the Fire Service headquarters to a less congested area to ensure improved response times. In 2022, $508 million is allocated to continue works on the new Headquarters at Durban Park, a fire station at Ogle, as well as the construction of a fire station at Wales and facilities at New Amsterdam. Further, a sum of $49.1 million is also allocated towards the repairs and maintenance of fire stations countrywide.”