From Buxton to Agricola: People never learn
The story of torrid resentment by Buxton youths against the police force was inevitable. These young men were a school of deeply bitter people just waiting to explode. The saga began in the seventies when the Working People’s Alliance through Walter Rodney and Buxton’s famous resident, Eusi Kwayana, had established an enduring relationship with the Buxton communities
Harassment in Buxton was official police policy. Under the Burnham Government, Buxton youths were a pursued lot. But it never went away after the decline of the WPA. It continued until the explosion after the Mash Day jailbreak.
Ill-mannered police intrusions into certain villages accompanied by humiliation of the youths in those areas have not abated since Independence. It is a recipe for disaster, has been disastrous, and if modern policing does not come to the Guyana Police Force, the tragedy may take a nasty turn in the not too distant future.
It is primitive methodology that has long gone out in the world, where police run into certain depressed or working class communities and behave in brutal, cruel ways. The first casualty of such unprofessional conduct is the loss of dignity by the villagers. It is the fundamental source of resentment by people of the police.
In Guyana, this seems to be standard police procedure. When the Guyana police run into these targeted villagers, they reduce man, woman and child to humiliated creatures. They abuse the youths, they physically manhandle them, and their parents and relatives come in for their share of brutality when they defend the victims.
This is wrong and should never be tolerated in the modern world. In Guyana, such nasty police operations have gone on for too long, and the Agricola incident on Tuesday should mark the end of this bestiality. It is simply illogical. The police need citizens’ cooperation, not their hate. If the police raid villages and constantly denigrate their residents, then nothing but disaster will be the consequences.
You would think that after Buxton, the PPP Government and the top brass of the police force would have learned the lessons of history. My honest opinion is that the PPP as a collective group is incapable of that philosophical feat. My honest opinion also is that Mr. Rohee, who has Cabinet jurisdiction for the police force, is a politician that is simply incapable of a deep understanding of modern politics.
My experience in living in this country is that too many police officials refuse to abide by professional ethics, have little respect for professional values, and have internalized a dislike for anyone accused of a crime, never mind if those persons are yet to be proven guilty.
In my life as a human rights activist in my country, I have seen police abuse of innocent people. That would never be tolerated in democratic societies.
The most enigmatic thing about the Guyana Police Force is how the senior officers throw away the education they have obtained from university training. Most senior ranks attempt to go to university to have a degree. Some even go on to post-graduate learning. As soon as they return to Eve Leary, they revert to the primitive thinking as when they were recruits who never dreamt of seeing a university hallway.
The ranks that went into Agricola and shot to death a seventeen-year-old kid have a commanding officer. I am sure that senior personnel may have passed through a higher college of learning where he/she would have been exposed to some form of philosophical training.
All the senior police and army officers who entered the Social Science programmes at UG had to do at least one course in philosophy with me. What do they do with this type of education? Should it not instill some kind of professional morality in them?
There must be an investigation into what happened to have caused the death of that seventeen-year-old youth. And the police must not be allowed to investigate itself. This is a tradition by the police force that is absolutely contemptuous of the people of Guyana.
It is an insulting process that the people of Guyana must put an end to.
How can the police force select policemen to probe a shooting by its own? It defies every area of reason and logic. It is this writer’s position that the instances of persons gunned down by the police without violent resistance in this country is of such a magnitude that the entire society is guilty of condoning such barbarity without protest.