Guyana seems to want to keep up with the rest of the world for all the wrong reasons. There was a time when people slept with their doors and windows open. In some communities people still do because the crime situation has not reached those locations.
Perhaps it is the fact that everyone now boasts that the world has become a village through the vastly improved modes of communication. These days it takes only a few minutes for something that happens in another corner of the world to reach the eyes and ears of Guyanese.
The foreign television newscasts regale us with the sordid details of the various shootings and killings. Nary would a morning pass without the television news anchor reporting about a shooting in Florida, or some other random act of violence.
It is the same in other parts of the world. In Asia and the Middle East and in Africa there are the senseless killings, some so brutal that they defy explanation and description.
With the ubiquitous social media, just about every Guyana can access these news items, The problem is that there is the view that the things happening are in direct proportion to the violence that assail the people of Guyana every day. It is therefore no surprise that some organization has rated this small country as the fifteenth most murderous country in the world. That is no ordinary rating when one considers that Guyana has less than a million people.
Some sociologists still hold to the view that Guyana’s violence is directly linked to its declining education capability. Each year a horde of young people leave school without a modicum of academic education and hopes of making money. A few would venture into the world of skilled work while others would trust their fate to luck and so venture into the hinterland to work in the timber, gold and other industries that exist there.
But there are others who refuse to leave home and would and soon gravitate to the world of crime. There are too many of these people today. Such are their numbers that it is no longer surprising when the ages are released after a confrontation with the law enforcers or if they die by misadventure.
Murders are what now place Guyana among the most violent countries in the world. A very large percent of the killings in Guyana are domestic. People get into disputes and at the drop of a hat they kill. That is because they lack the ability to reason. Many are killed after a bout of imbibing alcohol. Again, it goes without saying that reasoning is impaired by alcohol.
Of concern, are the murders that crown domestic violence acts. In this past week at least five people died violently, one by a man who now seems unrepentant and who is vowing to continue his campaign against his wife who survived the initial assault.
One would expect that in small societies the family unit would be closer; members of the extended family would always be at hand. These are the people who would normally avert violence but this does not seem to be the case today.
The police are hard pressed to keep up with the spate of killings. Given their numbers they cannot even offer protection where such is requested by the court.
In a society that is increasingly becoming lawless there must be innovative means to deal with the various crimes. There are seat belt laws and it took some prosecutions, regardless of status, to drive home the need for drivers to be buckled in.
Using hand-held mobile phones is a no-no but one gets the impression that there is no serious attempt at enforcement. And the relatively lax attitude to road fatalities is not helping to keep death off the roads. For this month there have been more road deaths than any other month. The influx of cars and new drivers necessitates stringent monitoring and the relevant penalties.
But we are on the right track if we want to record statistics like countries with populations fifty times larger than ours.
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