To say there are reasons to be concerned about here in Guyana would be a gross understatement. Topping the list are the crime rate and the uncertain political situation that prevails. With respect to the former, the media, on a daily basis, is inundated with horrific stories of people being brutally beaten and robbed, with some raped or even killed in the process.
From people walking in the streets to homes and businesses being invaded, crime continues unabated. The fear, which has been instilled into Guyanese, and even visitors, can be traumatising. It is not only debilitating to mindsets but hinders investments and commerce, which negatively impacts an already sluggish economy.
As it is, no one seems to be safe from armed criminals. Even some members of the security forces have been robbed and there seems to be an inconsistent approach by the Police. One may question, or even allege, if this may have found its way into the policy framework.
What is very worrisome is the Head of State saying in a recent interview that the crime situation is not worrying. His position is similar to that of the Commissioner of Police, who is reported as not being bothered, despite accepting there has been a spike in crime.
Those two positions totally conflict with that of Guyanese, especially the victims. It is common knowledge that innocent people are robbed every day and many of those incidents go unreported. It should be noted that shame very often prevents reports of sexual assaults. It is also common knowledge that there have been many incidents of the Police not responding in a timely manner or at all.
Just two days ago, bandits invaded the home of a Number 69 Village businessman. He claims calls to the Springlands Police Station were answered. Station phones going unanswered is nothing new and it remains a serious cause for concern. It begs the question: how can victims get help? With confidence in the Police low, residents are therefore left to the mercy, or lack thereof, of the bandits.
It appears that the Minister of Public Security is incapable of handling his portfolio. Many have ridiculed his performance and alleged absence of commitment on his part. Over time, he seems completely occupied in trying to secure his nomination as the Prime Ministerial candidate for APNU/AFC coalition.
While there is nothing wrong with being ambitious, even overly, pundits have stated that had he dedicated his energy to effectively manage public security in the same manner as he’s trying to become the Prime Ministerial candidate, the results might have been different. The difference seems to be in his apparent obsession with the latter and an alleged disinterest in the former.
Common sense would dictate genuine dedication to the primary function in an effort to try and dispel accusations of disinterest to boost chances of elevation. Despite his capacity to deliver his portfolio being questioned, he seems unbothered in his quest for the number two slot.
That sense of not being bothered by crime at such high levels will further drive fear into the hearts of the citizenry. It stands to suggest that the confidence lost in the Police will not be found in the Government or the Head of State. That’s a grave concern, for there is a natural expectation for the Government of the day to do its best in sustaining efforts to combat crime; not for it to be denied.
Any effort to skew the reality of crime will only embolden the criminals. That brings into context a comment the President reportedly made some time ago urging the Police not to shoot, but capture the bandits.
While there may be some merits in that thinking, crime continues to wreak havoc on the lives of Guyanese. They would expect appropriate action from the Police. Such utterances could also impact Police actions when confronting armed bandits. In the end, innocent people pay the price for the Government’s inadequate action.
That’s a major cause for worry as there appear to be attempts to misrepresent the crime situation for political purposes at the expense of the citizens.
Equally worrying is the APNU/AFC Government’s refusal to respect the Constitution in the wake of the No-Confidence Motion (NCM). From the way the Government operates at present, it seems that the NCM never happened. Despite an election date being announced, many Guyanese remain appalled that the Constitution could have been so glaringly disrespected.
Also cause for concern is the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) signalling its intention to remove some 25,000 names from the voters’ list, despite the possession of an ID card not being a prerequisite to vote. What then, could be the real reason to remove the names?
Maybe in the context noted, the welfare of Guyanese, with regard to ongoing crime, eroding democracy and lack of adherence to the rule of law, seems to be nothing for the Government and its subordinates to be worried about. That makes for more reasons for all to be scared.