A SWAT Unit for the Guyana Police Force is expected to be in place by July of 2014. The new unit is expected to be a specialized one that will give rapid response to situations such as the standoff which took place on Middle Street between the Police and a gunman.
Four persons including two policemen were killed by the lone gunman before he was killed.
The Ministry of Home Affairs is spearheading the setting up of the SWAT Unit and in a statement on Wednesday, the Ministry said the Middle Street incident “reinforces the contention of this Ministry that there is a dire need for well trained Specialized Units in the Guyana Police Force to respond to similar types of incidents.”
According to the Ministry, it is now more than committed to ensure that the SWAT Team is established in the Force within the time frame stipulated.
The Ministry of Home Affairs commended the efforts that were made by the “brave Ranks who responded to the incident” while offering its sympathy to the families of those who lost loved ones.
But even as moves are afoot to set up the SWAT team, there is concern about the current units of the Guyana Police Force and how they respond to crisis situations.
During Tuesday’s three hour standoff with the gunman, a number of police officers were seen responding to the scene wearing no protective gears. Many of them went into battle with just their guns. Several of the young police officers were not wearing any helmets or bullet proof vests.
Some persons at the scene also expressed concern that there appeared to be no comprehensive or well thought out plan to flush the gunman out and the situation was allowed to go on for three hours with no effort either to encourage him to surrender.
Scores of persons gathered at the scene to witness the mid afternoon mayhem. Police officers came out in their numbers from various units. A number of retired policemen and private security officials were seen at the scene as apart of the police operations.
The Opposition Leader David Granger has expressed his worry about the growing cases of gun violence. In a statement he said the Opposition group APNU “takes this opportunity to restate our position that the safety and security of citizens under the current leadership of the Minster of Home Affairs is severely compromised.”
The “APNU remains committed to working with all the relevant government agencies to ensure that all Guyanese can enjoy a good life in safe and secure communities”, the statement concluded.
(KAIETEUR NEWS Photo)