Is Guyana on the precipice? An unemotional answer should be that we are close to it. What happened at the Princess Ramada Hotel in the isolated hours of Friday morning tells the story of a county spinning out of control. Is there a person in this country who could be barefaced enough to say that he/she could have predicted that a casino in a hotel would be attacked by gunmen? No one could be that indecent to say they thought of that possibility.
Given the physical landscape of Guyana, there will be more daring robberies of rural homes. Unless criminality is totally removed (which is not possible in any country at any time), rural households will be targets. Those areas are isolated. Neighbours do not live close to each other, and the police will have a difficult time surmounting those backdam areas where the criminals seek refuge. In the urban sphere, the situation will not be any different except that escape will be harder. But with the orgy we are now seeing, commercial banks may be in a state of acute anxiety.
How could gunmen attack a hotel such as Princess Ramada with one street only to take you to Georgetown and one street only to take you way into the end of the East Bank of Demerara? But at the time of writing three of the four attackers have escaped. Time and time again we read of the police arriving at the scene, machine gunfire is exchanged but the marauders escape.
At the time of writing, I do not have all the facts, except that I read that the police was at the scene when the robbers were in the building. How then did the three manage their exit? Maybe we will get more details as the days unfold.
In a situation like this, the commentator and analyst and editor are bound to ask about police intelligence. Obviously, the police had none in this case because the robbery took place. With our small population, is it possible for such daring operations to be planned without even a modicum of intelligence filtering back to the crime sleuths in the police force?
The casino invasion is bound to throw the Guyana Police Force in front of the microscope. We just saw gushing praise from the police force about the results of the constant roadblocks. But it forces you to ask just how much nasty criminals these road operations pick up.
The casino assault has taken Guyana into lower levels of depraved criminality. I believe it is plausible to argue that after this casino attack, then, which other commercial or financial site is safe? What is going through the minds of the nation’s business community? Where is this terror train heading? Is it time to call in foreign police experts to work inside the nerve centre of the police force? I have made up my mind a long time ago with that. In Jamaica and Trinidad they had it up to five years ago. I don’t know at the time of writing, if those foreign officers are still there.
One has to sympathize with the Government of Guyana. This orgy of unimaginable, criminal violence comes at a time when all energies in the corridors of power are devoted to the Golden Jubilee celebrations. Visitors will be deterred. The numbers must be dropping. If they didn’t dip, perhaps they will now after the incredible assault.
I can’t say that I am a supporter of this “Big Bash.” But I do understand that the rulers of the day will want to celebrate 50 years of Independence. I can say without any hesitation; I don’t agree that the Durban Park project should have been engineered for that purpose
Even if the money didn’t come from the Treasury, the hierarchy of government should have advised the donors to use the money for other projects and let the National Park remain, as it has been through the decades, the site for our historic events. By what logic was the Durban Park area converted for the purpose of celebrating 50 years of Independence? Why not the National Park?
I am uncompromising in my attitude that a more thinking administration would have used those donated sums to remove the fire service from its dysfunction base at Stabroek Market Square and put it into the lap of the Durban Park site. As we move closer to the “Big Bash,” the nation’s mood may be heading in the direction of the maudlin rather than the bacchanalian. That is unfortunate, but Guyana has always been an unfortunate piece of land.
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