Home Letters Why is Ramjattan silent on tortured teen case?
Where is the voice of Mr Khemraj Ramjattan concerning Mr Ashkay Budhairam, the West Demerara child that was tortured in December 2019? Why all of sudden he (Mr Ramjattan) cannot speak “truth to power” on this Budhairam case as he did on the Tywon Thomas case ten years ago when two rogue cops applied fire to the genital of a child.
But the gross hypocrisy of this “wanna be” Prime Minister (sic) stands exposed as he remains uncooperative in helping to drive the process that can bring justice to young Ashkay. Today we have a situation where two more rogue cops are accused of pouring hot water down the back of young Ashkay as if they wanted to boil him alive. To add salt to young Ashkay’s wounds, these two rogue cops are walking the streets as free men today after being granted a low bail as the criminal justice system continues to fail the people of Guyana. How unfair!
International conventions, all of which Guyana is a signatory, prohibits torture and other inhumane treatment of the accused. The State is obligated to take proactive measures to discipline those who conduct torture upon another human being. Yet Mr Ramjattan and his Commissioner have not taken any serious measure to punish these two rogue cops to date, weeks after they violated another human being on taxpayers’ time; using taxpayers’ resources.
But to certify the immorality of the Granger regime, after 4 years and 5 months ago, these self-defined security specialists promised the people that once they are elected, they shall fix the system so that the people can be better protected and served. With the support of four (4) former Generals, three (3) former Colonels, two (2) former Commissioners, one (1) former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs and a clueless Minister of Public Security the results are just scandalous.
What reduces crime in a nation? Empirical evidence proves certainly not Police abuse. It is a known fact that the policing measure that most consistently reduces crime is the pursuance of an increase in the official arrest rate backed up by verifiable evidence that can stand up in court using real science and some “good old” common sense. There is no alternative.
But it seems that for decades now the controllers (I cannot call them leaders) of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) operated with indifference to such a strategy as if they are unaccountable to the people and with active political support from the politicians at the highest levels. I wonder why?
For years now, the GPF seems to have lost its bearings and has embarked on a path that is grounded in “torture” rather than – science and common sense. This is not a political problem; it is an institutional problem that must be dealt with institutionally; not politically.
First off, the GPF does not represent or reflect Guyana demographically and that is a huge facilitator of criminal activities. Fixing this challenge requires a Commissioner who is qualified, committed and ready to do the job of making the force into a “Guyana Force” rather than having their heads so deep up the dark end of a Minister as they try to mirror his political objective as a true “brown-noser” who does not have a strategy or a brain. You think I am wrong, where is the crime-fighting and anti-torture strategy of Commissioner Leslie James today?
Ideas for the next Government that are easy wins:
1. Come June 2020, the lowest salary level of a policeman must be $100,000 per month. The Commissioner has a moral duty to fight to the end for this. It must happen. We have lost tens of billions because of the lack of a functional Police Force, so do not dare tell me that it is unaffordable. We cannot afford to lose billions more! Our nation cannot continue with such a demotivated “constable class” in the GPF. The ranks deserve a living wage and while $100,000 is not a living wage, it is so much closer to $140,000, than the $80,000 per month that they currently earn.
2. Mr Ramjattan did the right thing to establish 10 Regional Commanders. The next Government must institutionalise the powers of these Commanders by establishing 10 training schools in the respective regions to ensure that each Commander is supplied with local recruits from their respective regions. All future graduates must be allowed to live and work in their respective region where they trained. So if a constable trained at Fort Wellington in West Coast Berbice, he will be able to work at a police station from within the catchment area from the Mahaica River to the Berbice River. The vision is to secure the Rupununi region mainly with Rupununians. There is no need for a Lindener to leave his family in Linden to protect Rupununi especially when there is a more qualified constable from the Rupununi who knows the local terrain better.
3. There must be a civil society monitoring mechanism institutionalised in the Police Act that allows for an independent mechanism to monitor the work of the police.
Because of the broadness of this issue, it requires a follow-up letter. Editor, with your permission, I am asking the readers to ponder on this issue. Enough said.