L-R: Head of the Police Corporate Communications Unit Mark Ramotar and Force PR Officer Stan Gouveia
The Guyana Police Force and Its Corporate Communications Unit headed by Mark Ramotar have taken a decision to completely black and block out the entire press, with the exception of the Guyana Chronicle News Paper from receiving its crime stats which were withheld for almost one year.
Head of the Police Corporate Communications Unit, Mark Ramotar himself served at the said newspaper as Editor in Chief for a number of years before being sent home by the David Granger administration in 2015.
For close to one year, the entire Guyanese media has been requesting from the Guyana Police Force its crime stats but it soon became clear that the force was holding the information close to its chest.
Senior and junior members of the press engaged the police force on the matter and each time, we were told that the information will be released ‘soon’.
Today, it came as a shock to the media when a rep from the Guyana Police Force Corporate Communications Unit, shared a screengrab from a section of a publication carried in the Guyana Chronicle Newspaper of Thursday, August 19, 2021, which contained the police stats.
Over the years, the police force would issue it’s stats in a general manner to the entire press through email. Over the last few years, the states were coming in the force of email and WhatsApp Group Chats which members of the press are part of.
Under normal circumstances, the police crime stats would be disseminated throughout the country through the various media outlets at not a single cost to the Guyana Police Force.
Despite placing its stats only in the State Newspaper, blocking out the rest of the press from the information which is of public interest, the force went deep into its pocket. Notwithstanding this, Guyanese who depend on their news from Online News Outlets, televisions, and through the other three dailies are still not able to know the crime stats for the country are.
BIG Smith News Watch has been informed that the Police Corporate Communications Unit has been spending through the Guyana Police Force, hundreds of thousands of Dollars to regurgitate a live radio program ‘Police and You’ which is aired on the National Communications Network Inc. Radio’s Voice of Guyana on Tuesday night.
For today’s publication in the Guyana Chronicle Newspaper which included the crime stats, the police force paid GYD $323,730 (Three Hundred and Twenty-Three Thousand One Hundred and Ninety dollars). For the last publication, the police force paid GYD $ 430,920 (Four Hundred and Thirty Thousand Nine Hundred and Twenty Dollars). A publication before that one cost the force GYD $107,730 (One Hundred and Seven Thousand Seven Hundred and Thirty Dollars).
In July of this year, Commissioner of Police Nigel Hoppie was asked if he was pleased with the relationship between the Guyana Police Force and the press. The police Commissioner who was also asked about why the police force was not releasing the crime stats indicated that he was pleased with the relationship and said there was room for improvement and that the police stats would have been released ‘soon’.