Yesterday, yet another Guyanese fell victim to the ongoing crime wave. A moneychanger was parking his vehicle on High Street when he was pounced upon by persons, robbed of his cash and his firearm and fatally shot in the head. The bandits escaped on a motorcycle.
A businessman and his family were terrorized last Sunday at his home on the Essequibo Coast. A gang, reportedly armed with submachine guns and side arms, invaded the businessman’s home, severely beating him about the head and face.
They then threatened to kidnap his son unless he coughed up more cash and valuables.
Last week, a businesswoman was robbed and murdered on the same Essequibo. The Cinderella county is reeling from these attacks.
The terror was not restricted to Essequibo. In Berbice, men wearing face masks invaded a bar, held up the owners and some 22 customers and robbed them of their valuable before escaping in one of the victim’s cars. It is not even safe anymore to have a drink at a public bar.
In the meantime, University of Guyana students have been victims of a spate of robberies just outside the campus. They are now demanding increased security and improved lighting. They too do not feel safe.
Thieves last week used a ladder to enter into the home of a media consultant. The thieves carted off a number of valuables. The homeowner tried desperately to contact 911 to no avail. He had better luck via social media where he was able to publicize his plight and this alerted the authorities to the home invasion.
Last week also, an elderly woman had a frightening experience at her home at Bloomfield Village. Bandits invaded her home. She tried to furtively escape by jumping through a window onto a shed but was pursued by the bandits who beat and robbed her.
Earlier in the month, the son of a businessman was accosted in the busiest street in Georgetown, Regent Street. He was dispossessed of a large sum of money, which he had on his person and shot in his abdomen.
Even the prisons are not safe. Just over a week ago, a prisoner escaped from the Lusignan lockups while another prisoner was badly beaten in his cell. He later died from his injuries.
Every day persons are mugged and robbed at Stabroek Market Square. People no longer bother to report some of these incidents. They know that the chances of the police catching the perpetrators are poor.
While this criminal carnage is taking place, the police are busy rounding up touts at the bus parks. As if that were not enough, a top police official advised ranks that if they are not satisfied with their salary they have the option of leaving the job.
The Minister of Public Security has not said a word on the frightening levels of criminality.
Other countries have long however taken note. The latest travel advisories from foreign governments all point to high levels of crime. The latest advisory from the United Kingdom warned its citizens travelling to Guyana of the need to take precautions to protect themselves and possessions.
The United States, last May, stated that violent crime, such as armed robbery and murder were common and that the police lacked the resources to respond effectively to criminal incidents. It urged its citizens living and visiting Guyana to be extra vigilant when visiting Automatic Teller Machines, to be aware of their surroundings, to avoid walking or driving at night and not to display signs of wealth.
Life has become a gamble in Guyana. You do not know when you wake up each day whether you will live to see another day. You do not know if you will be the next victim of a criminal attack.
Nothing has changed from the time of the PPPC and its ineffective law enforcement policies. Guyanese have gotten an exchange; not change.
People continue to tolerate this intolerable state of affairs. Not even a picketing demonstration is now launched against the violent crime. It seems as if citizens have accepted that they are pawns in the game of chance with criminality.
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