Home Editorial Profound disappointment on effectively combating crime
In a previous editorial, the question of whether fighting crime was a fake campaign promise by the then A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change Opposition was asked. The question was natural given what was seen as a continual increase in criminal attacks. From then to now, nothing seemed to have changed and for many, it appears to be worse.
This has gone seemingly unchecked over the years as mindsets are inundated with fear and the question of “who is next” seems involuntary. The stories that emanate daily are horrific to say the least; some with brutal sexual assaults. Not only are families scared, humiliated, deprived of valuables, communities ravished and left even more vulnerable, but life is brutally snuffed out in some instances.
Unfortunately, crime has not only become a fixture in daily news, but a prominent one. There seems no respite despite the much-publicised increase in resources and new recruits. While crime will realistically not be erased, taxpayers expect sustained quick responses and robust approaches in combating this societal scourge. This is not taking anything away from the brave men and women from law enforcement who risk their lives.
The issue, of what can only be described as the current failed policy in combating crime, has to be put into a particular context. The previous People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Administration was constantly berated by the then Opposition, which is now the Government, for being weak and incapable of fighting crime. This was used as a major campaign theme to rile sentiments against the PPP Government’s perceived lack of vision and expertise in the security sector. At the same time, the then Opposition spared no effort to boast of its prowess in security.
The voting populace probably needed no convincing over security personnel who were part of the APNU/AFC Opposition coalition. The fairly extensive list of former senior Police and Army officials who joined the slate might have instilled a sense of belief in relief from crime even from non-supporters. That seeming prolific gathering of security specialists probably caused crime itself to shudder.
None can dispute the esteemed offices which they served. That might have tilted the balance of the crime-fighting scale in favour of the coalition since there was little or no reason to doubt the capabilities showcased.
Regardless of where the ballot was cast, expectation for a vast reduction in crime was real and immediate. Therein lies the profound disappointment. The expectation afterwards was for the promised new approach to effectively combat crime through more robust interventions.
Sadly, it did not happen and remains elusive. Citizens are now reeling in despair and minds are preoccupied with trying to stay safe, whether indoors or outdoors.
The question is, what has the coalition done since in Government to effectively combat crime? Given the boasts, the expectation would not be farfetched for close to a crime-free society by now.
The reality is that fear has taken a stranglehold on the nation, depriving people of their freedom from that mindset so as to be able to focus on making a living. This brings into the fray the nexus of the current harsh economic policies and a derivative of crime.
While there will always be some who will engage in criminal activities regardless of the economic situation, forcing people into poverty will have a frightening effect. Analysts will postulate the nexus of youth in crime as a result of unemployment. Clearly, many jobs have been lost under this Administration; and this is not an attempt to state that all those who were fired have resorted to crime, for many are forced into humiliation in finding a legal livelihood.
After five years and the upward spiral of crime, one may rightfully question policies and interventions, if any, and their effects. With the current circumstance, one can again question the genuineness of this particular influential campaign promise.