The Government of Guyana on Tuesday evening signed a contract with the consultant group, The Emergence Group of the United States for the setting up of the SWAT unit for the Guyana Police Force.
The Emergence Group has worked across the globe to set up Law Enforcement and Justice Sector Reform programmes.
The new SWAT team could come on stream by mid next year once everything goes as planned. Director of The Emergence Group, Ambassador Dennis Hays said over the next few months, his organisation will put together the “best possible team” to make up the SWAT Unit.
He said officials from his organisation will visit Guyana soon to begin laying the ground work for the setting up of the unit and put together training plans that will be best suited for the local environment.
Mr. Hays added that there will be an assessment of existing capabilities and equipment and logistics skills and then a “country specific, Guyanese specific programme that involves both training and mentoring will be developed” as a component for the Guyana Police Force.
The new SWAT Unit he said, will be better equipped and better prepared to deal with serious issues.
According to The Emergence Group Director, the “end goal is to have a capability that the Commissioner can pull upon when needed to deal with a difficult situation and he will know that he has officers who have the training, who have the temperament and who have the expertise to apply critical judgement in a difficult situation to ensure that there is a resolution which is obtained at the lowest level of violence”.
Minister of Home Affairs, Clement Rohee said while there might be persons for and against the setting up of a SWAT unit to take on the crime situation, it is now a case of “better late than never”.
The Home Affairs Minister said while some believe that the best way to see a reduction in crime would be for him to demit office, he will ensure that while he is still there, new systems are put in place to take on the crime situation in the country.
Questioned about previous units that were set up by the Guyana Police Force with the same objectives, Mr. Rohee said the SWAT team is very different since it will a conventional SWAT team held to international standards. He said the setting up of the SWAT team should not be prejudged and compared to previous crime fighting teams that were set up in the Guyana Police Force.
The Emergence Group has already held meetings with the Police Commissioner and Senior Police Officials as well as with officials from the Government of Guyana.
It is unclear whether all of the members of the new SWAT team will be drawn from the Guyana Police Force. Currently, a number of Police officers are being examined for positions with the new unit. However, the Government could allow new persons to be hired and trained for the Unit.