To serve and protect: weeding out rogue ranks

A video gone viral shows absolute brutality meted out to a member of the public by a Police rank, with callous disregard of the feelings of his relatives who were present at the police station.

While this newspaper does not condone driving under the influence, the man was not seen resisting arrest but rather his aberrant action was pulling off the hoodie that was half-covering the arresting rank’s face.
Many citizens no longer, in general, trust the members of Guyana’ security services, given the fact that many of them in the past have been caught in the act of committing crimes, even armed robbery and murder. One such case was reported in the media some time ago and it was indicated: “The coast guards accused of killing Bartica gold miner Dweive Kant Ramdass were found guilty by the jury and subsequently sentenced to death by Justice Franklyn Holder at the High Court in Suddie, Essequibo.”
Another article headlined “Cop arrested over bribe after sting operation” was published in a local print publication.
This aberration is seemingly very prevalent in society, especially in hinterland regions and rural areas.
The security services in Guyana were in the past de-professionalised to aid the oppressive regime of a former dictatorial administration of Forbes Burnham in subjugating the citizens of the land, especially those perceived as ‘dissidents’ .

Subsequent to the PPP/C’s victory at the polls in October of 1992, newly-elected Executive President Dr Cheddi Jagan attempted to once more professionalise the service sectors – security, public sector, et al. However, by then corruption had become endemic to the national psyche and had infused every aspect of national life, to the extent that every transaction, no matter how small, was an exercise in futility unless a bribe was paid.
But with fortitude and determination, the Governments over the years have made inroads – mainly through forging partnerships with main players and key stakeholders, such as the Private Sector and impartial NGOs; and also by reconstruction of the Constitution and establishing relevant commissions, to eradicate dishonest and unpatriotic actions;, although Government has initiated many educational, wealth-creational and empowerment programmes to enable enhanced lifestyles of employees within the various sectors.
A letter writer posited: “Police living above their means is cause for dishonest practices, in spite of the fact that they have been getting constant increases in wages and benefits, including tax-free pay for lower ranks and annual bonuses, among others.”
Law-abiding and hard-working citizens feel great anger at being targeted by criminals and, in many instances, receiving little protection from the Police Force.
There is great dissatisfaction with the modus operandi of the Police in every division.
The general impediment to citizens providing information to Police is trust issues the public at large have with the Police Force.
A while ago, a Police Commissioner was taped allegedly having a conversation with a senior member of a political party in which the Commissioner implicated himself in serious criminal activities, including planting drugs on an innocent person and murder. Recent arrests of retired senior members of the Force are indicative of how widespread the corruption in the GPF is.
The Police will have to weed out the rogues within their ranks themselves so as to re-generate trust in the public once more. Most Police ranks are serving with diligence and commitment to “serve and protect”, and it is up to them to weed out the rotten apples because the taint and mistrust are spreading to encapsulate the entire Force. Many Policemen have worked beyond the call of duty to “protect and serve”, and it is unjust and demotivating to label them with the actions of the rogues; so it is incumbent upon them to eliminate this scourge from their sector.