Pretending that a reality does not exist because it should not exist does not mean it ceases to exist. One of the realities that exist in this country and in most other countries today is crime and gang violence.
While most criminals are well armed, our politicians seem not to have the tools to mount a sustained attack against them. It is a security dilemma that the state apparatus, the security forces and the people must deal with condignly before it gets worse.
The crisis that we face is that our current legal construct cannot facilitate a war against the hardcore criminals, and even with long-term imprisonment, many continue to direct their operations while imprisoned. The reason is because they are vicious and bold.
While the security forces have proven themselves effective in combat against the criminals, they do not receive the adequate assistance from the political directorate to rid society of this scourge. The reason lies in rules.
The legal system has rules which are guided by our constitution, and that the police must follow. This document was written by those who had first-hand knowledge of corruption and State abuse of citizens. The constitution was geared to protect the citizens from State abuse, not from the hardcore criminals and gang domination that exist in the country today.
At the time the constitution was written, there were hardly any gangs and well-armed criminals, who today see crime as a profitable business venture.
Simply put, the constitution in existence today did not account for this battle. Gangs were not as large and crime was not as sophisticated, other than a handful of ‘rude boys’ with a few small guns to scare their victims into handing over their belongings as quickly as possible without being harmed.
Some say that many of the crimes and murders were political creations, others believe they were social. However, they came about is immaterial. They are here and we cannot fight them with the rules of a bygone era constitution.
Once the Charter of Human Rights was established by the United Nations (UN), to which Guyana is a signatory, some laws such as the Detention Act and the Suppression Act, among others, that were repressive, were removed from the 1980 constitution to meet the UN requirements.
The citizens of this country have elected politicians to protect them, and to find a way to collaborate and make decisions in their interest to save their lives, if doing so would require the rewriting or amending the constitution. But it seems that they are doing the opposite.
Almost every year, the murder and armed robbery rates keep creeping up, because those elected are not political mature enough to collaborate and make changes to the constitution to reduce the tragedy. Independence was achieved more than five decades ago, and the two main political parties continue to rival one another instead of working out their differences. They cannot even sit down and make decisions that will save hundreds of innocent lives. Neither party is capable of solving this problem, because one always blames the other and vice-versa, in the absence of a comprehensive crime plan. Elections are not won or lost on this issue, innocent lives are lost either way.
Guyana is not the first country, which has had to introduce a change in the rules because of a deadly threat that did not previously exist. Prior to 9/11, the full impact of terrorism had not been felt in the U.S. But when it was, the Americans responded with the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, which provided the powers that were required to detain alleged would-be terrorists. It was not done through one party. Both sides supported and passed this legislation in Congress because they knew that steps had to be taken to save lives.
Like the U.S, our laws needed to be changed or modified to deal with the criminals and gang violence. This type of action is required from our politicians to save lives and end the frustration and anger of the people.
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