The lessons that we must learn

Dear Editor,
Events of January 6, 2021, in Washington, where a group of marauding thugs invaded Capitol Hill, while in session, and caused significant damages, both to property and national pride in the United States, have been dominating world headlines. The views and analyses are wide and varied.
Indeed, much has to be analysed as to prospects and dangers for democracy in the future.
However, this will be done later. For now, let us focus on what the events in the United States will teach us here in Guyana.
There is no doubt the US will overcome this and will ensure that it does not happen again or, at least, for a very long time to come.
They will demonstrate to us the important role and link between a stable society and the security/justice system. They will show us that form and content, what we do and how we do it can have lasting beneficial effects or ill effects on any society.
Immediately after those incidents, the state in the US has kicked in to say that there must be consequences for this and they have started to move on it immediately.
Photographs of the participants in the illegal invasion are being examined and arrests have started to happen. As of Sunday morning, 10th January 2021, 83 arrests were made.
I have no doubt many will be charged, ringleaders and those, some stupidly following the crowd that damaged property will be quickly charged. They will be quickly tried and will face the consequences of their misguided actions.
At the security level, we already have resignations and possibly more, including dismissals that will follow.
At the highest level, plans are moving ahead to deal with the intellectual authors of these events. What they will be is not yet clear but be sure there will be.
The swift actions already taken has put a halt to the recklessness. It has not spread an inch from the door of the Capitol to the rest of the city, and certainly not to other states.
We will have time to deal with other aspects of those events but the US is already resolving it very boldly and frontally.
Compare this to Guyana. We can go back to the 1950s and 1960s to show that this has been one of our failings and it has contributed much to our many problems. Criminal actions of the PNC, its leadership, their thugs and criminal elements continue to go unpunished.
Let’s just look from December 2018 to now how we have failed and are failing to deal with these issues.
Open, blatant attempts have been made to rig our elections. After a long, long while, charges have been made. However, every step of the way seems to be geared to frustrate measures to punish the guilty. Instead, they are placed in cold storage and brushed under the carpet. The major accused are on the job and others on leave with pay. The whole atmosphere is that it will be forgotten.
The matters are put in court, not for justice but to frustrate and make ineffective. Important cases of national importance take years to be heard and often never is.
The elections petition case of 2015 has never even been called.

Coming back to thuggery, let us look at the beatings, the robberies, the molestations, the harassments, that occur at every PNC “protest” without arrests, without charges. If once in a blue moon charges are made, how many were heard in courts or convictions made? I can’t think of one.
These things were allowed to fester and are still festering.
We read the Auditor General’s report of massive frauds. We read of the drug bond crisis, the bridge corruption and so much more, hardly anything comes of these.
That is why we are now hearing that our prisons are not a source of correction but of corruption from top to bottom. People are made criminals in those institutions and the guardians are enriching themselves using prisoners and their families.
I believe that our officials must now take a no-tolerance view on these things.
A key office in the whole structure is that of the DPP. Yet, this place is practically useless. No energy is shown to defend people’s rights. It seems reluctant to act these days. When we compare how energetic it was in collaborating with the PNC regime in allowing itself to be used to harass political opponents and destroy people’s lives, it seems that nothing has changed but tactics of delay and fudging.
If the officers don’t appreciate their responsibilities to the country, if they are scared of the PNC thugs, if, for whatever reason, they cannot act professionally, they should, for once, do something decent and resign.
Judges and Magistrates must give timely judgements in writing to ensure people’s cases and lives can be settled. This is one of the most traumatic places to get timely redress. Many of their decisions should be seen as clearly one-sided and biased. Remember the maths!
The Police Force must examine its own performance. How come it is so inefficient in dealing with PNC violent crimes? How come they stand around and see mobsters robbing and beating people, molesting women and children with no arrest being made? They often end up blaming the victims and even killing innocent people.
The incident in the US was unfortunate but we must look at how it will be dealt with to help restore peace and normalcy in a very, very complexed and multi-cultural society. Let’s learn, please learn! Save Guyana!

Donald Ramotar
Former President