A report in a section of the digital media reports on two contrasting positions, one by the main Peoples National Congress and the other by the ruling Peoples Progressive Party, in relation to crime- fighting.
The PPP is said to have proposed greater international cooperation and a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team to address the crime situation.
A SWAT team makes sense. Criminals are now armed to the teeth and sometimes move around with high powered weapons. They demonstrate a proclivity for violence and therefore traditional police methods would be ineffective against these sophisticated and heavily armed criminals.
The main opposition reportedly rejected the idea of a SWAT team and proposed as a better option the sealing off of our borders. Sealing off of our borders? Sealing off of Guyana’s borders?
If this online report is accurate, then the question needs to be asked whether the PNCR is serious about winning this year’s election. Not only has that party already alienated potential votes by proposing the privatisation of sugar and other state-owned enterprises but given its record in pressing for a Disciplined Services Commission and advocating for the implementation of the Commission’s findings, the PNCR would have been expected to stick to those recommendations instead of saying that the most important option was the sealing of our borders.
If this is what the PNCR is proposing as the better option, the sealing of the country’s borders, is the PNCR serious?
The country does not have the personnel or the money and is not going to have the capacity to seal the borders of this country. Not in another one hundred years.
It is practically impossible to seal the borders of this country. They are too wide to be effectively policed. It is therefore hoped that the PNCR would confirm whether that online report accurately captures its crime-fighting strategy because if one of the options is the sealing of our borders, then it is pipe dream that cannot be achieved.
Even if however by some miracle the borders can be sealed, this is not going to prevent the trade in small arms and narcotics. We have security at the national airport and yet drugs get by this security. Guns have been known to be imported via air and sea into Guyana, and therefore sealing the borders is not going to prevent the movement of guns or drugs.
If the theory is that guns and the drug trade are linked, it means that the solution to gun crimes has to be to snuff out the drug trade. But this too is easier said than done.
But since most of the drugs in Guyana are part of a transshipment process, it means that the better option would be international cooperation. Most of the drugs in Guyana are being sent overseas. Thus the objective should be to work with international drug enforcement agencies to break the back of the drug lords in Guyana.
The Americans have had great success in going after drug barons. They have effected major arrests and broken large drug cartels, but some of these cartels have a tendency to regroup under new leadership and new members.
Mexico is at present the scene of major massacres because of the drug trade. Guyana does not have to become the Mexico of the Caribbean. Guyana has to solicit international help in the fight against crime. There should be cooperation so that the drugs can be intercepted overseas as well as locally.
A strategy aimed at prosecuting drug barons is also not going to be easy without international assistance. The drug barons hardly ever handle the drugs. It is often impossible to link any suspected drug baron to an intercepted shipment or bust because it is often impossible to link anything to the masterminds.
However, Guyana has plea bargaining laws and instead of the authorities trying to haul every small pusher and trafficker before the courts, they should begin to build cases by offering a plea- bargaining to those caught.
In return for evidence and witness protection, they should offer a plea bargaining deal. In this way, the law enforcement agencies would at least capture the middle men and the middle men would eventually lead them to the big fish. Is this not how the US operated in a number of cases?
We do not need o seal any borders. We need to protect witnesses and this is where international cooperation is even more vital. As part of witness protection deal, the authorities should arrange for witnesses to be given safe haven in third world countries.
This requires international cooperation across borders, not sealing the borders when there can be airdrops and other ways of bypassing border patrols.
Guyana cannot afford to waste away its hard-earned resources on trying to seal the borders. Not even crazy glue can do that!
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