Remarks as prepared
Ambassador Sarah-Ann Lynch
Launch of PADF-Strengthening Guyana Police Force Training (GPF) to Improve Responses to Vulnerable Populations
January 31, 2023
Hon. Minister of Home Affairs Robeson Benn
Hon. Minister of Human Services and Social Security Vindhya Persaud
Acting Commissioner of Police Clifton Hicken
Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) Senior Program Manager Faisal Hassan
Members of the Diplomatic Corps, International Organizations, Civil Society, the Media, and Special Guests,
Welcome to today’s launch, and a very special thank you to Minister Benn for your support and Commissioner Hicken for hosting us today. I am very pleased to announce the official launch of our new U.S. Embassy project: Strengthening Guyana Police Force Training to Improve Responses to Vulnerable Populations, implemented by the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) in partnership with the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Guyana Police Force. The project focuses on strengthening police training and improving the response to vulnerable populations. Thanks to the support from the U.S. State Department’s Office of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) Bureau, this project advances our excellent partnership with the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Guyana Police Force to support Guyana’s domestic and regional security and the effective and transparent delivery of inclusive security services.
The United States’ commitment to security assistance and human rights in Guyana is a key pillar of our foreign policy. Through the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), a shared regional security partnership, the United States has invested nearly one billion U.S. dollars since 2010. The United States provides training and capacity building to help Guyana’s law enforcement maintain the highest levels of professionalism. For instance, every year the United States sends law enforcement officers from Guyana and across the hemisphere to our International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in El Salvador for in-depth training and exposure to new policing skills. These programs not only help police officers respond to and investigate cases of gender-based violence to include sexual offenses, crimes against children, and trafficking in persons, but also focus on improving law enforcement through police professionalization, anti-corruption training, and community-based policing.
We have seen public servants across several ministries and government services return from training and immediately implement practices that benefit Guyanese communities and later, teach others in their regions.
Guiding our provision of security training and assistance in Guyana is a commitment to human rights. Through this project with the GPF, we hope to see a decrease in the number of harmful encounters with marginalized and vulnerable groups, such as youth; women; and migrants; and improve the GPF’s ability to interact with these groups through de- escalation and community initiatives. Furthermore, experts will recommend strategies for the GPF to incorporate and implement these best practices in the police academy curriculum.
Guyana is doing a lot to support those who are less fortunate and come here looking for a safe place to live and work. There is always more to be done, and security professionals in every country in the world will tell you that citizen security is a continued priority but also a challenge that is certainly not unique to Guyana or anywhere else. This project is one way we are working to support Guyana’s efforts to successfully handle new challenges, just as police forces in the United States are wrestling with similar issues and updating their own training.
The United States is proud to support this effort in partnership with Guyana and the GPF. The United States wants to see Guyanese law enforcement succeed in fulfilling their mission to serve all citizens and communities in a professional, inclusive, and accountable manner. As we seek to help Guyana become more secure for all, we are also committed to ensuring they do so in a way that preserves human life and upholds the dignity of all citizens.
I wish you all the best of luck as this project gets underway, and my team and I remain committed to learning along with you and continuing to support your efforts!