…Ramjattan urges officers to speak out against wrongdoingAs the 35th Prison Service Week kicked off with a thanksgiving ceremony on Sunday morning, the issue of rogue elements being within the Guyana Prison Service and contributing to contraband smuggling within the system was highlighted, and calls have been made for ranks to speak out against wrongdoing by their colleagues.In his address to the gathering at the special service held at the Cecil Kilkenny Training School at Lusignan, East Coast Demerara, the acting Director of Prisons, Gladwin Samuels, disclosed that so far for the year, some 28 prison officers have been dismissed, 11 of whom had facilitated or directly smuggled contraband intoDirector of Prisons (ag) Gladwin Samuelsthe prison system.Samuels said 12 ranks are currently interdicted from duty, nine of whom have been charged either departmentally or criminally for trafficking-related activities.Contraband smuggling has long been a perennial problem within the prison system, and compounded by facilitation from both prison and Police officers, the illegal trade is said to be “big business”.In fact, only last week, four prison officers were arrested for smuggling a bottle of rum and a pack of cigarettes into the Lusignan Prison the weekend prior. They were subsequently charged and interdicted from duty.Further, five other prison officers were relieved of their duties back in July after they were fingered in an incident in which a parcel containing cannabis had been thrown into the Holding Bay area of the Lusignan Prisons.Samuels told the gathering that the rogue elements within the organisation will sooner or later be weeded out of the organisation.“Of course there are some rogue elements in our midst, who are like salt and pepper in a fresh wound. But by and by, they will weed themselves out… Let them remind themselves that in Guyana we say, ‘Time longer than twine’,” the Director of Prisons asserted.Also addressing the gathering at the thanksgiving service was Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan, who used the opportunity to urge ranks within the Prisons Service to do better in the face of wrong, and to speak out when collusion is observed.“The fact that we can introspect and say that ‘I should not have done that’, or ‘I should not have seen my colleague done that and not speak up’, I’ve said on several occasions that silence is violence. If we shut our mouths to the wrongdoings, (they) will occur; so we must speak out,” the Public Security Minister said.Ramjattan outlined that the Prison Service has been seeing a surge in instances of collusion by some of its members. To this end, he called for a higher level of integrity to exist among officers.“We can have all the infrastructural developments and arrangements in concrete fashion, but if we do not have the professional officers and work staff wanting to do their jobs with integrity, all that is beautiful around you (will) all come to nought,” the Minister posited.He noted that great institutions are made up of individuals who, upon seeing wrongdoing, speak out.“They [did], as we must (do) today, realise that they must grow out of the wrongdoing; grow out of the corruption; grow out of the greed and avarice; and they became institutions that are world renowned,” Ramjattan said.
“There are approximately 100,000 resident hunters in the province and approximately 5,000 guided clients,” says Ellis. “That generates a total of $350 million in revenue – about $230 million comes from the resident hunting community – $120 million comes from the non-resident or guided community.”Ellis adds the important role guided hunters play within the tourism industry.“British Columbia is a destination that a lot of people want to come to; there’s a wide variety of game, it’s very clean, It’s very safe, it’s English speaking, and it’s on a lot of people’s bucket list.”The northern region of B.C. also has its own unique game that many hunters are after, says Ellis.Advertisement “The predominate reason to come to the Peace – the number one I say would be – well the number one and two non-resident licence sales are black bear and moose, but there’s a lot of sheep in the north people are pretty passionate about – love to come here for – a lot of people come for elk as well.”Ellis says he does however understand why resident hunters of northern B.C. find the issue of non-resident hunting allocation to be so contentious.“I think most British Columbians actually are concerned about wildlife, so whenever there’s a decision made around the sharing of wildlife or the harvesting of wildlife – those are both very compassionate decisions …they have very, very strong opinions and feelings towards wildlife and how they’re managed.” “Of the 17,000-ish LEH – so those are the draws – and again, only grizzly bears in the north, this is potentially a loss of about 600 – so about a 3.5 per cent loss,” explains Scott Ellis, the executive director for the Guide Outfitters of B.C. “So what see, really around the province, is no significant impact whatsoever to resident hunter opportunity.”Ellis says the final decision made by the province after consulting with the B.C. Wildlife Federation, The Guide Outfitters of B.C. and the B.C. Trappers Association, was not made hastily.“Ten years in the process of negotiating, and discussing, and coming up with a fair and balanced decision around the species that need to be allocated, and what share should go to the guided community and what share should go to the resident hunting community,” says Ellis.- Advertisement -Hunting policies have been an issue in B.C. for nearly 15 years, with meeting continuously being held between the Wildlife Federation and the Guide Outfitters – using Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Steve Thomson as a mediator.After ten years of negotiations, Minister Thomson made the decision for them – which has now raised the concern of various organizations about the possible decrease in local hunting permits and an increase for outfitters.Ellis goes on to explain the impact of the outfitters on the provincial economy.Advertisement