In a short period of twenty-four hours during the past week, the lives of three persons were snuffed out in the continuing disregard for human life shown by criminal elements in our society.
In the first case, a man and a female friend were on the Seawalls on the East Coast of Demerara when they were allegedly confronted by two armed men who robbed them and in the process killed the man.
In the second case, an elderly gentleman lost his life when the vehicle he was travelling in was reportedly ambushed. Shots were fired and the passenger in the vehicle was killed.
In the third case that occurred within a twenty-four hour period, there was a home invasion during which a man was killed. At the time there were guests from overseas who were staying with the family.
These incidents are worrying. They suggest brazenness on the part of bandits who are over-confident in their ability to escape the wrath of the law when they commit these crimes. That trend has to be addressed. There must be continuous action by the security services to arrest this development, especially the high number of illegal guns which seem to be in use in our society.
In Brazil, the army was used in a major exercise last year to flush out and purge slum areas of criminal gangs. Many of these “favelas” are now much improved and doing very well, but crime still remains a problem, and the authorities are not letting up in their efforts to root it out.
Following his election victory in Venezuela, President Maduro launched a similar campaign in Venezuela. Why can’t the same be done in Guyana?
A few years ago, Guyana had a terrible crime wave in which a number of innocent persons were killed and countless others raped and murdered. At that time there were calls for the Guyana Defence Force to be used to help flush out both the insurgent threat from the criminal gangs operating out of Buxton and the widespread criminal acts that were being perpetuated. There was strong resistance to these calls and all manner of objections were raised about the involvement of the military in helping the Guyana Police Force.
Why were these calls made? Why was there resistance to using the defence forces to help a sister disciplined services organization to arrest the crime situation during peacetime? Lives, including the lives of security forces operatives, could have been saved had there been no resistance.
There still needs to be a commission of inquiry into the crime wave of 2002-2006, inclusive of the effectiveness of the Guyana Defence Force. Since then, of course, there have been numerous worrying incidents involving ranks of the army. Not only was large cache of weapons stolen from right under the noses of the army, but ranks have been implicated in a series of crimes, including murder, robbery of gold miners, credit card fraud overseas and the smuggling of illicit narcotics. The army therefore faces a credibility crisis in terms of its own reputation to be involved in crime-fighting activities. However, there are many good men and women within the army and many of them would have been affected by the crimes that are taking place. Some of them would have lost loved ones or known of persons who would have been affected by crimes.
The army should therefore seize the opportunity to assist the security forces in a major sweep of criminal cells and to improve its tarnished image over the private acts of some of its ranks.
Let those who wish to object to the involvement of the army raise their objections now before the people, or forever hold their peace, because the patience of the people is wearing thin.
Crime is crippling Guyana and is leaving many wives as widows, many children without fathers and many households without any hope for the future. There has to be a major sweep of criminal dens in Guyana and this must be unrelenting until the message becomes clear: people must be free to live their lives in peace and to not be dispossessed of what they have worked for through the sweat of their brows.
The campaign should not cease until Guyanese can walk the streets without fear of being mobbed and can sleep with their doors, windows and gates open without fear of a criminal invasion.
People must also be allowed to live full lives and not have these lives cut short simply because someone else’s eye is fattened by what these persons own.
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