Guyanese love to gamble. Yesterday was raining in Guyana and two grown men threw two leaves into a canal and had a bet about which leaf would meet a pipeline before the other.
Every Sunday, the police patrols are out at a location where horse cart racing takes place. The police have intelligence that this practice takes place on Sundays and they therefore come out and take up a strategic position so as to prevent the races from taking place.
These races present a danger to the public, because when these horse carts are in full flight, racing on the roadways, there is nothing to stop them. They can run over passersby and plough into lines of vehicles. This is a dangerous sport when conducted on our roadways and without any controls.
The police try to ensure the safety of citizens by keeping a close eye when they see persons assemble for what they know is the inevitable cart race.
The police are however often outsmarted. As the adage goes: “smarter the government, wiser the population.” The horse cart men assemble; the punters gather; the spectators mingle around. The police park their vehicles. And the waiting game begins.
After a few hours, the police do not see any carts around, because none are within their eyesight. And so they leave, assuming that their presence has forced the horse carts to not turn up.
Unknown to them, the carts have been parked in a side street and are at the ready for racing. So no sooner than the police pull off, the cart men get their carts to the starting line and like the snap of a finger, the race is off, completed even before the police have time to get into cruise control.
The police still do not know that they are being outsmarted and they do not know because while they have intelligence about the races, they do not have all the intelligence to know how they are being outfoxed.
There is equally no reason to doubt that the police know and have known for some time now that Sundays is a big day for animal and bird sports. They know that dog fighting is big sport in Guyana. It is a big sport with big money and “big” men involved.
The gambling is also not a small thing. Seven figures are passed in some matches, and the betting is man–for–man. Even if the police know where these dog fights take place, they would need a major operation to stop it because at these dog fights there are lookouts and even if the police arrive on the scene, all they will see is two dogs going at each other.
To prove that a pre-arranged fight is taking place, to establish who the owners of the dogs are, requires the police going undercover and having plants within these gambling rings. This is dangerous police work, because of some of the elements involved in the gambling.
The police must also know that it is not only dog fights that attract big gambling but also fowl cock fighting. This is a big money sport with millions passing hands every week.
There is also another sport, one that does not involve cruelty to animals which takes place on Sundays and which involves seven-figure bets. That sport is bird whistling.
This past week a man lost his life after an incident which allegedly took place at the scene of a dog fight. This shows the great human risk involved, not in the fight itself, but because of the fights that can happen due to the big gambling that takes place at these events.
Dog fights and fowl cock fights should be outlawed. These constitute cruelty to animals. No one should be permitted to raise either pit bulls or fowl cocks for fighting purposes. If the law is ambiguous it should be made unambiguous. If it only covers the fighting, it should be amended to also cover the raising or rearing of animals for the purposes of engaging in fights.
These laws however will not stop anything. It will only push these sports further underground. Thus what is needed is for the authorities to decide which sports entail cruelty to animals and to take action to root it out by also charging the spectators to these sports.
But for those other sports which involve either birds or animals but which are not deemed as constituting cruelty to animals, these sports should be regularized. Horse cart racing and bird whistling competitions should be regularized so long as they are not deemed as being cruel to the animals or birds.
If they are not regularized and if there are no laws to stop them, they will continue to take place. Therefore for those non-cruel sports, they should be regularized and associations formed to run them off in a legal manner.
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