Not even the schoolchildren are safe anymore. A recent video, which has gone viral on Facebook, shows footage of a schoolboy being set upon by criminals and robbed of his cellular phone while on his way home from school.
Imagine how that young child must have felt. Imagine how he will feel if he has to continue to walk to get to and from school. He is not going to feel safe anymore using the streets. He will see the streets as dangerous and unsafe. He will be terrified. The nightmare that he endured will haunt him forever. He may have lost more than his cellular phone that day. He would have lost his innocent outlook on life. He has been robbed of a precious part of his childhood.
Crime has always been out of control in Guyana. Crime was always a major aspect of life in Guyana. Crime has impoverished persons and it has made the criminals rich. It has been one of the main means of the transfer of wealth.
The police force is overwhelmed by the task of fighting crime. It is too much for them. It is too much for any police force, much less one that is so corrupt and inept.
Guyanese society is criminalised. Stealing is pervasive. Robberies are taking place every day.
A few weeks ago, there was a video of a woman pushing her hands into the bag of a woman in a store and taking out her money. Shoplifters are caught almost every day stealing from businesses.
When Giftland Office Max was located in Water Street, there was a wall on which would be pasted printed images of persons caught stealing from that store. Every week, there was a new image. Even the risk of being caught and shamed was not enough.
Patients in the hospital wake up each morning to find that overnight, someone has pilfered some of their personal items. Even toilet paper is being stolen from the sick.
Children have complained that food is stolen from their lunch kits while they are in school. Pencils and other items are found missing from their school bags.
Government workers steal time – large amounts of time – by going to work late, taking long snack breaks, having extended lunch hours and using government time to do their personal businesses. There are some workers who go to work early, simply to use the phones to make out-of-area calls to their relatives.
There are persons who are stealing electricity and water and the authorities cannot do anything about it, because when they try to take action they are greeted with a riotous mob.
The bandits are becoming brazen. One group launched a robbery right next door to a police station. And they fired upon the police after they were pursued. The police have become a laughing stock for the criminals.
Farmers have it difficult. They plant and others reap.
People are being defrauded every day. Recently a couple was defrauded by a con artist. When the family thought they were acquiring land, they ended up being fleeced instead.
The list can go on. Guyanese society is being deadened because of the amount of thieving that is taking place. And this is part of the problem which foreign security experts cannot identify. None of their strategies to reform the security sector will work. The society first needs to be reformed before the police can be effective. The police are limited in what they can do in a criminalized society. They police are overwhelmed. How can you fight crime in a society in which not even schoolchildren are safe?
The police are in quandary. They are confused. So confused, that it is being reported that the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team is being deployed to Berbice to fight the upsurge in crime.
That has to be the joke of the year, because the SWAT team is trained to fight certain types of crime, including hostage-taking, bank robberies and terrorist attacks. Not the banditry which is sweeping Berbice at the moment.
The police are under pressure. They are afraid to use lethal force against criminals, because they are afraid that they may be accused of shooting to kill and end up before the courts.
And the criminals know about the instructions not to use lethal force unless absolutely necessary. They know that the police are afraid of being accused of using excessive force. This has made the bandits become bolder and more brazen.
This is Guyana and the criminals are in control. All Guyana should say a prayer to protect our schoolchildren from the demons who are out to rob them. The police cannot protect them; they are at the mercy of the bandits.
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