APNU and AFC are obsessively preoccupied with celebrating the JUBILEE and celebrating their own first anniversary in Government. It is right to celebrate the JUBILEE. Fifty years of Independence is an achievement that we must celebrate, even if Guyana did not turn out exactly the way we had hoped. Even if I believe that APNU/AFC has done a miserable job in Government over the past year, I concede it has every reason to celebrate its first anniversary.
But the JUBILEE and the first anniversary of APNU/AFC in Government cannot abrogate the responsibility of Government to ensure that the business of Guyana is on the front burner. APNU/AFC has abdicated its duties to the citizens of Guyana. As crimes cripple Guyana, APNU/AFC is dedicating all resources to the JUBILEE and the first anniversary of APNU/AFC. They refuse to be distracted from what they have made the only game in town.
It is impossible for anyone, no matter which side we belong to and no matter who we might have voted for, to deny that crime has reached unprecedented levels in Guyana. There are brutal instances of armed robberies and murders every day. The news headlines are consistent with more and more daring criminal activities. Just a few days ago, the criminal storming of the Ramada Hotel Casino stirred shock waves and disbelief for many. Recently, there was an armed robbery opposite the Albion Police Station. There seems no safe place in our country.
The murders of the rice farming, elderly couple in Region Three was so brutal that a lady in West Berbice broke out in tears. She did not know the couple, but the report that the couple perished after robbers set their property on fire and deliberately burnt them alive was not only shocking to people but created enormous fear that they are not safe in their homes. These kinds of stories have become commonplace in Guyana today. People are locked up in their own homes becoming prisoners of the criminals who roam freely. Businesses are closed early as people try to secure their properties and their lives.
In the meantime, APNU/AFC is clueless. The Minister of Public Security most of the time appears Missing In Action (MIA). In an era when APNU/AFC pursues governance with Commissions of Inquiry (CoI) for everything, it sees no need to have an inquiry into the exploding crime situation. It maintains that the situation is under control and that it is doing everything possible to ensure law and order. Prisoners die in a prison fire and there is an immediate CoI. But crime spirals out of control and Government is oblivious.
The President is more consumed to pardon another 57 prisoners as a JUBILEE gift. This is in addition to dozens of others who have been pardoned and several of whom have been engaged in new crimes. The Minister is busy moving officers around while insulting people who call for his resignation. This is the same Minister who aggressively and mercilessly called for the previous Minister to resign because of the crime situation in Guyana.
Ordinary citizens have been clamouring for more attention and for the Government to take urgent action to stem the raging tide of increasing crime. The Private Sector Commission has urged the Government to show greater urgency because the crime situation is not only affecting their personal lives, but is a major impediment in the business environment. The Berbice Chambers of Commerce has requested a meeting with Ramjattan to no avail.
In fact, APNU/AFC has maintained it is busy at this time with the JUBILEE and it has all hands on deck with the celebration. As crime each day reach new heights, we are told that it will respond after the JUBILEE. Crime is not a priority at this time and APNU/AFC chastises people for trying to put everyday issues such as crime on the agenda for action today.
Hundreds of millions of dollars have been dedicated to the JUBILEE and hundreds of Police Officers are working towards ensuring a successful JUBILEE. Police Officers are engaged in stopping vehicles each day and asking for a raise. Can Nagamootoo and Harmon tell us how many vehicles were stopped and asked for a raise during their sojourn in Region Six last week? Police Officers stopped vehicles asking for a raise to get a drink because they were assigned to be on the road all day long.
WE do not object to APNU/AFC making a great big effort to have an amazing JUBILEE and to celebrate its own first anniversary. It has every right to do so. But we object to it abdicating its responsibility as a government. Crime cannot be on the back burner because of JUBILEE.