Minister Charles Ramson and Assistant Commissioner Clifton Hicken in Agricola on Saturday
A joint team from the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport and Guyana Police Force, led by Minister Charles Ramson Jr. and Assistant Commissioner (Operations) Clifton Hicken respectively, conducted a walkthrough in the community of Agricola, Greater Georgetown, on Saturday.
The move followed a request by the community for sporting gears and assistance with the development of their ballfield.
A number of persons from the entertainment industry were present, including co-founder of Hits and Jams Entertainment Rawle Ferguson and Nigel Worrell of Ansa McAl.
During the visit, which saw the Minister walking from the head of the village to the ballfield, residents who met him along the way (mostly young people) spoke of their sporting needs and expectations of the community, in particular, working with the Ministry in ensuring that sporting activities in Agricola are revived.
Football is one of the main sporting disciplines for the young people in Agricola, while for some it is basketball and for others, boxing, which according to them is underperforming in terms of engagement at the community level by those responsible for that particular sporting discipline.
Ramson told the media that President Irfaan Ali’s vision is that government must remain engaged and connected with people across all regions and communities. He stressed that the visit to Agricola, although it was by invitation, is something that has already been taking place across other regions.
“Our position in government, our action in government, is that we would be a government for all people, so you wouldn’t find us only going into areas that are exclusively supportive to the PPP. We are going to go into all areas, whether they support us or not, and what’s happening here is what will be happening all across the country.”
Sporting gears were also given to young people for them utilize, and according to Ramson, he was made aware based on complaints from some residents that requests for gears and ground development in Agricola was not forthcoming previously.
But the visit to the community and the engaging of the young people was not only about sports and enhancing the various sporting disciplines within the community, it did have a security connotation to it.
Regional Commander, Assistant Commissioner Simon McBean explained that from a criminology standpoint, being able to guide the young people at this phase of their lives, which is considered the most at-risk stage, provides an opportunity to guide them away from criminal activities, and out of delinquency.
He stressed that while the police force is the coordinator, the government is brought onboard in situations like these to identify the various skills through the resource agencies, and also acts as the driver for the provision of resources to aid the process.
Assistant Commissioner Hicken, who was one of the foremost senior officers to have engaged the community while he was Divisional Commander several years ago, indicated that Saturday’s activity was an easy one, given the prior work that the police would have done in the community, which served as the foundation.
He indicated that the police already had a relationship with the community, but there was a lull in its engagement. He nevertheless stressed that had the foundation not be laid, not only in Agricola but other communities, it would have been a much harder task for the police to enter villages through their soft-arm approach, otherwise known as social crime prevention.