Just recently, two brothers were brutally killed by bandits in Corentyne, Berbice. It is just one of many horrific incidents of crime that continue to plague the country. More so, gauging from reports, there is a spike in criminal activities across the country; particularly in Berbice. Watching the mother of those two brothers lamenting her loss and pain is heartbreaking and extremely worrisome, for no one knows who next will be pounced upon as their safety appears insecure.
None would want to or should be made to suffer like her and the families of the two deceased. Just before the two lives were snuffed out, they were, like most Guyanese, preparing with their loved ones, to usher in the New Year in a festive spirit. One can safely assume they may have looked forward to the New Year with renewed hope for success. In their wildest imagination, surely losing their lives that night would not have been contemplated.
Such dastardly acts have rendered life cheap at the hands of criminals who kill with impunity. The ensuing shock that suddenly reverberated will be felt for a very long time, with the haunting memories embedded permanently. The emotional devastation left in the aftermath is indescribable as fear overwhelms not just the survivors but citizens throughout. With mindsets saturated with fear, lifestyles and routines are forced to be curtailed with many made to feel like prisoners in their own homes.
With every reported crime, there are many unreported ones. These daily occurrences have caused many to ask what the authority is doing to curb the escalating situation. From their standpoint and having seen the Police received additional resources, including vehicles, there is little or no excuse for the rampant crime. Their expectation is for swift responses, apprehension of the perpetrators and increased and effective patrols within their neighbourhoods.
Such actions will go a far way in helping to build citizens’ confidence in the Police which is tasked to serve and protect. While the reality may be different due to holistic resource constraint, the perceived lack of mitigating policy will further diminish whatever semblance of confidence may exist. While this is not suggesting that there is an absence of necessary policies by law enforcement, the realities of the current crime spate create the environment for suggesting otherwise or failure to effectively implement.
This once again brings into focus one of the Government’s campaign mantras which boasted of making the country safer from crime. Stacked with a number of security experts in its line-up, many Guyanese bought into it having little or no reason to doubt that capacity to deliver. The President was a Brigadier in the Army; two officials were once its Chief-of-Staff; and a Minister, a former Commissioner of Police. This is aside from the number of other former Army officers who are part of the Government structure.
This is a reflection of what may have been an unquestionably capacity through experience within the Administration to share knowledge and derive polices to effectively combat crime. Under its watch, crime appears to have drastically increased. Given what unfolds every day, the Government must feel some sense of embarrassment over not being able to deliver on its campaign boast of securing the nation despite its composition of security experts. Some would see it as an indictment on its behalf.
Whatever the feeling on that is, the bottom line is that ordinary and hard-working citizens are made hapless victims by rampaging and merciless criminals. Many poor people with modest means are also not spared. Naturally, the focus would be on the subject Public Security Minister. Many have voiced discontent with his performance. During his tenure, criminal activities continue unabated, 17 inmates were killed following a prison riot, the Camp Street Prison was destroyed by fire and escapees from the Lusignan penitentiary reported.
When all of that and the prevailing fear are taken into consideration, one can fairly conclude that the Government through the Public Security Ministry has failed to curb the ongoing crime situation. This does mean there weren’t moments of success as some bandits were either killed or apprehended. From this, one can posit a lack of consistency, probably resulting from a deficiency in policymaking. This is a prevailing view along with what appears to be a lack of focus from the executive branch on crime.
While Ministers generally multitask, this ability has seemingly escaped the subject Minister. He has been prominent and vociferous in his public pronouncements following the vote of no-confidence against the Government. This is evident in one way from his numerous appearances on television. To date he hasn’t commented on the current crime situation and, at least not publicly, offer any sentiment of comfort to that grieving mother from Berbice; the county from which he hails.
That could suggest a lack of compassion and understanding of the realities on the ground. That could also give fodder to the argument of a lack of suitability for the position. Surviving and anguished victims may have little doubt.