If you see, hear or know something, say or do something

Dear Editor,
In the midst of COVID-19, crime, corruption, collusion and commerce, the Coalition Party has recently come in for more criticism for its callous performance, including cunning craftsmanship, during its tenure in governance. An ongoing issue is the recent revelation of the oil saga, which is creating mayhem and havoc in many corners, and causing uncomfortable discomfiture. The APNU/AFC Government had signed a lopsided oil agreement that is unfavourable to Guyana’s interest.
Then there is the case of several plots of State land which were leased by individuals and then resold, resulting in huge profits. This has particularly been the case on the East Bank of Demerara. A popular attorney and member of the People’s National Congress Reform, James Bond, has been arrested for questioning in relation to the land giveaways under the former APNU/AFC Coalition.
Another matter of engagement is the process of dumping over $742M worth of expired drugs by the Ministry of Health, which has begun since Thursday. This was disclosed by Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony, who added that the drugs have cost approximately $3 million of taxpayers’ money to be wasted.
While COVID-19 is taking a severe toll on the lives of Guyanese, the crime situation is out of control, and its rampage is destroying the peace of mind of all Guyanese. It is very chaotic and has devastating effects politically, economically, sociologically and psychologically on the lives of all Guyanese and residents of the country and abroad.
This cumbersome problem is causing a panic with relatives abroad, and is currently contributing as a destabilising factor in each and every home in Guyana.
This deplorable and unacceptable matter perpetuates both white collar and blue-collar criminal activities.
Recently, Guyana-born sociologist and former senior lecturer in the faculty of Social Science at the University of Guyana, Dr. Tara Singh, had ample reasons to write not once, but twice, this month regarding the terrible and horrific crime situation in Guyana. He has articulated some of the damaging effects, and has called for a national forum to engage in a conversation regarding this heinous situation. Dr. Tara Singh has also impressed the urgency of this forum because of the gravity of its explosiveness. Many editorial pieces, reporters and writers have echoed and endorsed his sentiments, and reiterated the need for the immediate intervention of Government.
The past Government had turned a blind eye to this challenge, and had opened the room to entertain speculations. Guyana has been the victim of so much corruption and collusion under the APNU/AFC regime, and it is only now that Guyanese are becoming aware of all the white-collar crimes committed during that regime’s past five years in office. Even though this comes as no surprise, it is the Guyanese public, more so the man in the street, who has to pay the cost.
As if to add salt to the profusely bleeding wound, since the publication of Dr. Singh’s last article, it would seem as if crime has taken an affront, and criminals have been further provoked. It is as if they are competing with the law enforcement officers and challenging them to come catch them. A recent spate of incidents is grave concern for reflection: On Nov. 20th, Deonarine Harripersaud was robbed of $3 million dollars while withdrawing cash at the bank in Number Nauth Village, Upper Corentyne, East Berbice. last Friday, it was discovered that there is a $150 million fraud at the Finance Dept. of the Guyana Police Force. A Sophia couple, Nyron Wilson, 33, and Nadira John, 19, were busted with $1.5 million in narcotics. Some 116 persons were arrested in Berbice for breaching the COVID-19 protocols last Friday and Saturday. 11 GRA staffers were suspended last Saturday as authorities continue their investigation into the Belgium seizure of 11.5 tons of cocaine shipped from Guyana, worth about US$1 billion. Last Saturday, Koretta Otho, 28, of Plaisance, ECD, was confronted by armed bandits in front of her home and robbed of some $100 thousand worth of cash and articles. 3 inmates escaped last Saturday from the Lusignan Holding Bay. The issue of people escaping from the prisons has to do with administrative issues at the prisons. There is corruption at the level of the prison officers. We have been firing prison officers for smuggling ganja, rum, vodka, whiskey, and cigarettes into the prisons.
There are issues of prisoners making knives there, and so searches have to be conducted, a senior officer explained. Last Sunday, a 52- year-old man from Tuschen Housing Scheme, EBE allegedly took his life. An argument over undercooked rice resulted in a woman stabbing her brother to death at Parika Backdam, East Bank Essequibo on Sunday afternoon. Eight men from Corentyne, East Berbice, were arrested on Sunday for engaging in cock-fighting and for being in breach of the COVID-19 emergency measures. On Monday night, CANU intercepted a Suriname-based Guyanese woman with 1.948 kilograms of cocaine at the CJIA. 53-year-old businessman Terrence Dickie of Soesdyke, EBD was shot dead in the wee hours of Monday by armed bandits during a home invasion. Last Monday, illegal logs from illegal mining were seized in the Potaro-Siparuni area.
It is obvious that the crime situation is massively out of control, and reinforcement is required from the Police Force, the GDF, the People’s Militia, the Neighbourhood Watch Committees, the private security firms, and the public at large.
The Government is encouraged to take immediate actions and steps to curb this gigantic problem, and the Minister of Home Affairs is urged to pay attention to Dr. Tara Singh’s suggestions. This matter is past “nipping in the bud”, and is deeply rooted in the heart of Guyana and seeded in each home. Guyanese are urged: if you see, hear or know something, say or do something. It is your life that may be at stake.

Jai Lall