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Minister Benn acknowledges need for less “toxic” relations between citizens and police

Home Affairs Minister Robeson Benn speaking at launch of GYMMA Academic Training Sessions

Minister of Home Affairs Robeson Benn has noted that there are issues to be resolved in the “chaotic” relations between citizens and police in Guyana, referencing an editorial in Stabroek News.

The newspaper’s editorial was titled "The chaotic Republic of Guyana". Among other things, it stated: 'At this point we must stick a pin and acknowledge that as citizens we contribute greatly in big and small ways to this chaos through anti-social and delinquent behaviour. But it is the state that is duty bound to regulate our activities.'

The editorial went on to call out the Government for a lack of police protection for citizens, referencing a recent incidence where a mother lost her children after having reported to the police that she was in an abusive relationship and was offered no assistance or protection.

The Minister went on to state that he had taken note of violent encounters between the police and the public.

“We have situations in which the encounters between our peace officers, which they are, and members of the public who need to be restrained, brought to the station or whatever- that it has been for a while toxic.”

“There has been a great deal of disrespect for our policing for various reasons, some right and wrong, but that it is toxic. Fairly frequently between verbal and other abuse it descends into chaotic encounters, fistic encounters, lashing with wood and running with cutlass – all sort of stuff like that.”

He was at the time speaking at the launch of the Guyana Mixed Martial Arts Federation’s collaborative initiative with the Guyana Police Force to educate police officers on better conflict resolution and equip them with ways to de-escalate situations without use of weapons and violence.

“The ability to bring in this kind of training to the Guyana police force and also for ordinary citizens I think will bring us to a position where we would have the reserve to judge interventions with proper training and skills, to make interventions where it will result in less harm.”


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