The Police and society
February 18, 2004
YESTERDAY'S formal appointment of Mr. Winston Felix as Guyana's 28th Commissioner of Police was widely expected.
With the opposition People's National Congress/Reform finally ending its boycott of discussions with the Government on the reconstitution of the Police Service Commission, it was announced/disclosed that Mr. Felix would be sworn in to replace Mr. Floyd McDonald on February 16.
As can be said of every officer assuming the commissionership of the Guyana Police Force, Mr. Felix has begun his tenure as CoP at a critical period in Guyana's history. At no time since its establishment in 1891 has the force come under so much scrutiny and ridicule.
Its mission is "to provide service and protection by preventing and detecting crime, maintaining law and order, controlling traffic, protecting property and preserving the peace through the provision of the highest standard of professional police service with absolute integrity and complete dedication." But its execution of that mission has been stymied by a section of society whose anti-government animosity, fueled by race hate/ethnic preference, has led to the demonizing of the police - especially when ranks win out in their confrontation with criminals and/or crime suspects of a particular ethnic make-up.
Undaunted, the police under Commissioner McDonald continued their assault on crime and in collaboration with the Army brought Guyana back from the brink of a crisis of crime-infested proportions.
Commissioner Felix has taken over at a time when serious, violent crimes appear to be on the rebound.
The Top Cop isn't oblivious to this reality, however. Nor is he under any illusions that policing isn't exclusively the function of the Guyana Police Force. Thus, one of the priorities is to hold discussions with community/civil society leaders. The purpose would be to establish a stronger partnership with the community to provide quality police service - the kind that ensures the creation of a safer, more secure Guyana.
If we know him well, Commissioner Felix is a Top Cop in the "traditional" sense. Like his predecessors, he'd rather work quietly, without unnecessary media hype, to accomplish his goals.
We expect him to unveil unclassified law enforcement strategies in the short term.
His appointment represents an integrity clearance and his own resolve to uphold the decrees of the Constitution relevant to his job and the mission of the Guyana Police Force.
We congratulate and wish him well and look forward to the force addressing the factors contributing to crime, working even more closely with community groups to foster a style of policing that is necessary to improve safety and security across Guyana.