There are a great many beat-duty cops on the roads these days. They are especially visible around the city; no doubt, as a result of Guyana’s preparations for Carifesta X, which will be hosted in mid-August.
It is good to see so many cops on the road these days. Good, firstly because it improves the comfort level of citizens when they see a visible presence of the police on our streets.
It is good also because it means that more and more persons employed by the Guyana Police Force are now doing police work.
One of the long-standing criticisms of the Guyana Police Force has been the large number of ranks who are doing work not directly related to actual crime-fighting.
While we are still to learn of the steps being taken to relieve the police of functions that can be performed by civilians, it is still a promising sign to note that more ranks are now being deployed onto the streets. This will be all the better if it is as a result of more persons joining the Force.
One person has described some of the faces on the streets as mere boys; but, from what I am seeing, some — not all of them — are trying to gain the relevant experience the wrong way.
I have seen some of these ranks standing in one street in the city — I think it is called Alexander Street — waylaying car drivers who have no knowledge that this street is now totally a one-way street for north-bound traffic.
They say ignorance of the law is no excuse, but I believe firmly that citizens have an obligation to be given adequate and conspicuous notice about changes restricting certain streets to one-way traffic.
I saw some of these beat-duty ranks pull aside two cars, the drivers of whom were clearly not familiar with the fact that the designation of the streets had changed. The conversations, from my observatory, went on for ages.
I never knew it took so long to inform obviously distressed drivers that they had breached the law and needed to be more careful in the future.
These ranks were clearly very friendly, because they were taking an eternity to refer the alleged offenders to the traffic department. In fact, they took so long that I could no longer wait to see the outcome of the entire affair.
Then there were some ranks stationed, a few days ago, on the Avenue of the Republic; one set was outside City Hall and the other on High Street near to Parliament Buildings.
Both sets seemed more interested in monitoring which motor vehicles would drive through the amber lights than in really monitoring whether there were any suspicious characters.
Even though none of these ranks had on the white belt, they seemed extremely eager to be concentrating on traffic duties.
One person who did have on a white belt, a few days ago, was a young rank detailed at the junction of Regent and King Streets.
This is normally a very busy junction during peak hours, and since there are no traffic lights at that corner, a rank is usually sent, I suppose, with the stated objective of ensuring the orderly passage of vehicles through that location.
This particular rank, on the day in question, was however standing away from the junction with two of the heavily-armed ranks, with their thick cardigans on in a tropical country, watching all sides wrestle with each other.
I was infuriated, since I thought that this rank should have been directing the flow of the traffic.
Later in the day, I again passed the same junction and saw the rank preoccupied with a car which was parked diagonally in front of Joseph’s Record Bar.
I wondered where he was when the driver actually made the parking, seeing that earlier in the day he was so preoccupied with other ranks in monitoring the traffic.
I wish the same monitoring could take place at the junction of the East Bank bypass and Mandela Avenue. I have noted that there are two lanes for traffic proceeding south on the bypass.
There is a lane for traffic turning east into Mandela Avenue and there is a lane for traffic turning west and also for those proceeding straight to the street that runs alongside the West Ruimveldt Primary School.
However, very often, I have noticed that vehicles using the western lane, instead of proceeding in the designated direction, actually cut across the eastern lane and proceed east into Mandela Avenue.
This is a most disconcerting practice, since there is not much time given to vehicles to proceed across the junction.
When vehicles which are in the wrong lane, therefore, are cutting lanes at the junction, it means that many vehicles in their right lanes cannot clear the junction in time.
At one time, there used to be traffic cops stationed on the eastern carriageway of the bypass, but these days you do not see any present.
I am hoping that a rank can be re-stationed at that location, but to monitor traffic going southwards, since this is where the bottlenecks develop.
I hope, however, that the rank is not blinded by the afternoon sunlight flashing off an improperly placed signboard nearby.
I would have thought by now that this signboard would have been relocated. I wonder when it will be removed; in time for Carifesta X?
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