Training key to development of Guyana Police Force

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Dear Editor,

Training is the main root of development in the Guyana Police Force.

Other Departments and divisions even though very important are but the branches of the tree. Cut the main root and the tree dies. Training is about knowledge, skills, attitude and behaviour. It is also about the development of the organisation most precious resource – its people.  Not the expensive vehicles recently used by the police to engage in high-speed chase of another vehicle with deadly consequences or the high-powered rifle that was used outside of Headquarters to unlawfully kill an unarmed individual in his bed or the soon to be purchased nightsticks, batons, clubs, chemical irritants, including pepper spray or tear gas, conducted electrical weapons, including a taser or stun gun, kinetic impact projectiles, including rubber coated bullets or a water cannon as listed under Section 2 (b) of the Police ( Amended ) Bill 2021, intended for use against protesters. It is against this background and the perpetual unprofessional and unethical behaviour being displayed by members of the Force at all levels that I am again making a clarion call for the GPF to replicate and sustain the training courses conducted by The Emergence Group ( TEG ) of the United States of America during 2009/2010. They were relevant then. They are even more important now. Let me be very pellucid. Training is not the plaster for every sore, but it will act as a catalyst to influence acceptable behaviour of members of the Force. However, other critical areas like the abondoned GPF Strategic Plan 2011/2015 must come into play. This Plan identified several priorities areas needed to deliver the highest quality of service to the country. They include:  Operational Priorities, People, Performance, Partnerships and Infrastructure. The Strategic Plan was disbanded by Commissioner Sealall Persaud although the Government had spent million of dollars to establish it. After some intervention by government it was placed back on the front burner but lt is apparently off the burner. The fire has been switched off.

FLASH BACK! Under the Citizens Security Programme, the Institutional Modernisation of Guyana Police Force was put in place. As part of the Programme the Inter – American Development Bank funded the  “One – year Comprehensive Training Plan ” which was conducted by The Emergence Group. A Country Manager was posted in Guyana to coordinate the training while other facilitators came from overseas. I was the Country Manager’s equal. Together we conducted a total of twenty nine training programmes ranging from senior officers to recruits.

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Some of the courses conducted were: Information Based Decision Making For Executives, Advance Facilitation, Curriculm Design, Kidnapping, Crises Intervention, Cultivating Informants,  Gathering Intelligence, Delivering Quality Service, Development of a Case File, Drug Identification and Investigation, Personality Profile, Effective Investigation, Effective Dealing with People, Policing Multi Cultural and Diverse Communities, Training Evaluation, Interviewing Witnesses, Interrogating Suspects, Mentoring, Case Management, Crime Scene Management. Emotional intellegence, Self Esteem, Anger Management, Human Rights and Effective Communication.

These courses were internalised, conceptualised, designed, developed, implemented and evaluated after intensive discussions were conducted country wide with members of the GPF, members of the public, politicians from both sides of the political divide, experienced adult educators and employing international best practices.

The Programme had a train the trainers competent inbedded in it.That is to say that for each training course particants were trained to teach the course. Instead of sending the police to America for training, we brought American to them. During the training the Bank sent one of its its Vice Presidents with responsibility for the Caribbean and South America to Guyana to do an evaluation of the training. She gave a thumbs up for the training. After the completion of the training the Bank contracted Professor, Dr. Mark Kerton who at the time was attached to the University of West Indies based in Trinidad to evaluate the training done. He gave us an excellent review. Of all the components of the Citizens Security Programme the One Year Comprehensive Training Programme was the most successful.

The intention was to replecate and sustain the training conductef by TEG. As the Force Training Officer i started the process. After i demitted office Paul Williams did some training, but he was given a basket to fetch water. Assistant Commissioner Clifton Hicken took over from him. Instead of carrying out the training, he introduced five programmes which he called ‘ core courses. ‘ They all have major flaws. The objectives are not SMART –  specefic, measurable, achieavable, realistic and timely. The course contents in many cases do not support the objectives. The methodology appears to be designed for chalk and talk which is not suited for andragogy as adult learn better when training is conducted using various methods of instructions including the Multisensory Principle.  Snr.Superintendent Fizal Karimbaksh who took over from Clifton Hicken did not conduct any of the TEG training under review. He marked time on the spot and put in a lot of face and seat time until he was removed. The present Force Training Officer, Superintendent Shivpersaud Bacchus is very knowledgable in Information Technology. He had extensive training in that area in India, but he lacks knowledge in general policing and cannot be considered a real trainer. No wonder training is been treated like a pregnant, unmarried, unwanted step daughter.

In conclusion, i again urge the police to stop nibbling around the edges of training. Piece meal training will only produce peace meal results. What is required is a holistic approach towards training. Among other training, the police must replecate and sustain the training which was conducted by The Emergence Group. The watch word is sustainability. Instructors and participants manuals, both hard and electronic copies are available. In addition, trained facilitators within the GPF and some retired officers are available to conduct the training. However, the retirees may be wary that if they conduct the training and received a stipend for their work SOCU may give them a phantom charge for conspiracy to defraud like they did to Paul Slowe, Clinton Conway and other senior retired police officers. The training will influence the police to behave in a professional and accountable manner and to deliver the highest quality of service to the citizens they swore to serve and protect, thereby, promoting public confidence in the GPF which is sadly lacking as stated in a recent report by USAID.

May God bless the Guyana Police Force

Yours respectfully
Clinton Conway



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