There is a worrying development which is being reported in the media. If found to be true, then possibly it could reveal a sinister plot and betrayal of public trust of an indescribable magnitude. The issue has to do with allegations surrounding a senior Policeman who reportedly may have aided and protected some criminals.
The matter came to light only following clandestine disclosures reportedly made by some junior ranks. It unfolded following events a few weeks ago, when three bandits were killed during a Police operation in the Black Bush Polder area, Corentyne. That shootout came after an extended period of lamentation by residents in Berbice over the spate of crime unleashed upon them by armed bandits.
During that time, many were robbed and beaten, with a few being killed. Fear permeated across the region, almost crippling mindsets as Berbicians were left helpless and at the mercy of the marauding criminals. The media were inundated with reports as residents pleaded for an effective response from the authorities. The effect of the crimes there also resonated in the minds of Guyanese throughout the country as worry heightened.
The cries of Berbicians were eventually heard, apparently due to public pressure. A SWAT team was dispatched to help curb the menace. Within a short span, the Police operation reaped success.
However, many have questioned, and are still questioning, the lengthy period it took for that effective response to be authorised.
The success of the Police team evoked immediate joy from residents, and there has been noticeable relief since. That joy, which was felt beyond Berbice, is gradually being replaced by worry, following the allegations noted. According to information received, a cellphone from one of the dead bandits reportedly had the senior officer’s number stored, and calls may have been made to him.
Additionally, a few junior ranks have alleged that the bandits were previously and repeatedly tipped off, reportedly by the said officer, in exchange for monetary benefits. The “whistle-blowing” ranks reportedly provided details on how the alleged scheme worked, and the negative impact such actions may have had on the related operations in Berbice.
This development has naturally precipitated common and intriguing conversations countrywide. High on the agenda is the call for an immediate and thorough investigation into the allegations. Worrying is the seeming silence of the authorities thus far.
This administration is known for establishing Commissions of Inquiry (CoI), with a plethora having been established since its tenure began in May 2015. Only this week, the Government launched a probe into the purported dismissal of some Public Servants by the subject Minister. That is important, given the dire need to know why the seemingly sudden dismissals in bloc; and more so, reportedly by a Minister.
Similarly, there is an urgent need to know if the security of citizens had deliberately been compromised by a senior officer.
The development has negatively impacted confidence in the Police. Even before the reported revelations, the general public’s confidence in law enforcement had been low, despite efforts by the Force to change that thinking. Many victims related harrowing stories of either a lack of, or delayed, response to a crime by some ranks in parts of the country. Some have alluded to excuses on the part of the Police for not responding in a timely manner. That may have been the reality in Berbice, which led to pressure and the eventual deployment of the SWAT team.
That said, when citizens are attacked by bandits, the Police are their only hope to safeguard life primarily. Many have, in the past, alleged collusion between some ranks and some bandits. This probably explains why some residents in general are sometimes reluctant to provide information. Maybe, and possibly coincidently, the delayed response, excuses, and refusal to file a report may now have a context.
The allegations in question are frightening, to say the least; for whatever trust that remains can be swiftly eroded. Confidence, once lost, is extremely difficult to be regained, whether it’s in a person or an organisation. While a profound sense of betrayal can creep into the mindsets of many, some are not surprised, given their suspicion over time.
Be that as it may, the security of citizens must not be allowed to be compromised. As it is, citizens have to grapple with both the fear of crime being perpetrated on them and a seeming lack of assurance of an effective and timely response. That will have a telling effect on both the people and the country.
The reality is that crime seemed unabated, prompting the USA to issue an advisory, warning its citizens travelling here. That may have summed up the situation, adding pressure for swift and decisive action in investigating the allegations, letting the chips fall where they may.
Too much is at stake. Nothing but an independent CoI should be acceptable. The mere thought that a senior cop may have allegedly aided and abetted armed and dangerous criminals is frightening. The longer the issue remains unresolved, the more fear will exacerbate, and confidence in law enforcement could gradually evaporate. The ensuing consequence will be unimaginable.