Home Letters The US State Department’s Travel Advisory for Guyana was short but impressive
As at May 30, 2019, Guyana remains at Level 2, because, in the words of the United States Government, based on their intelligence, “violent crime, such as armed robbery and murder, is common”.
To compound the socioeconomic disaster happening in Guyana, the United States Government made it clear that the “local Police lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents”.
To clarify how deficient the personal safety systems are in Guyana, the United States Government recommended that travellers in Guyana should “avoid travelling at nights”.
In light of such a resounding vote of no-confidence in the public security system of Guyana, up comes Mr. Joseph Harmon, the newly invented Director General (of what, I do not know), spouting some serious doses of public claptrap by declaring that “the country is safe”.
For whom, Mr. Harmon? Crime is rampant in Guyana, and Mr. Khemraj Ramjattan has failed with an “F” grade at his job, and should be fired forthwith for gross dereliction of duty and gross incompetence at serving and protecting the people.
Mr. Ramjattan has failed to make sense of the problems; and because of this, he has failed to invent the solutions. Thus he cannot relate to the future of public security for the people, and he must go.
What true leaders do is enable others to create new processes and new structures to solve the issues. All that has happened since Mr. David Granger came into office is that he has populated the top echelons of the Guyana Police Force with people. But that cannot be an exclusive crime-fighting strategy, because if you appoint misfits who cannot conceive a crime-fighting strategy, then the outcome will be worse than it was before they were appointed.
Mind you, I did not think at the time of his appointment that the Commissioner was a misfit, since I was one of the first persons to welcome Mr. Leslie James to the post, and called on my fellow Guyanese to give the man a chance to prove himself when he was appointed in August 2018.
My expectation was that he was going to review, within six months, all the processes and structures of the Force with an intent to evaluate whether they were functioning effectively and were in compliance with best practices.
Now, Rome was not built in a day, so I was not expecting magic from Mr. James; but, at a minimum, every divisional headquarters and their sub-divisional headquarters — from Charity to Crabwood Creek, Georgetown to Linden — should have had one functioning vehicle (with a backup vehicle, just in case) manned by a well-trained five-man squad for 24 hours.
That would have entailed 46 vehicles and 920 personnel to man this system for 7 days a week. I was expecting the GDF being asked to provide short-term training for these 920 persons. That is not magic.
Plus, I was expecting an aggressive recruitment drive, using no-cash incentives like free house lots, tax-free salaries for the first two years in the Force, and free scholarships for their children to attend UG for two years only (complete a diploma).
But, clearly, the Commissioner was asleep at the wheel, and has launched into more of the same old tactics. Well, guess what, we have a demotivated Force that is failing to recruit enough able-bodied persons, and the same old continues. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome. My point is made.
So to the United States Government, I say, ‘Thank you for supporting the long suffering, law-abiding people of Guyana, and for speaking the truth. This is not the time to pander to fake news coming out of the Ministry of the Presidency in Guyana; this is the time to call a spade a spade, because too many people have been traumatised in Guyana because of this crime wave; and, worse yet, lost their lives.