I remember when I was young and trying to sow my oats. I was working at Bartica back then. There were some young girls on whom I had my eyes. Unfortunately, I was not a looker. Put another way, by no stretch of imagination could I be considered handsome.
But even the mangiest dog vies for the attention of some of the attractive bitches on the streets. That was how I heard my friend boasting about his girl. Indeed, she was something worth boasting about, except that she was no academic. That meant that when they went to social events, he would wish that she did not speak a lot.
But she was smart. One day she duly informed him that what was hers was hers and that what was his was also hers.
Today, the criminals in Guyana utter similar sentiments. What everyone has is theirs and they spare no pains to get it. Sometimes they take people’s things with a brutality that is uncalled for, but that is because their parents never taught them certain values. One of those is the value for human life.
Ten days ago some men entered the home of a moneychanger and relieved him of a quantity of cash. Criminals who want money are expected to do that. This group of people went further. They killed the man and his daughter.
The police caught up with some people believed to be the perpetrators of the crime. Their story makes for interesting reading. For starters, one of them reportedly told the police that he shot the daughter, an 18-year-old, because she saw his face.
Then there has been the finger-pointing. One man says that he was there but that he did nothing. He implicated an accomplice in the killings. The arrested people have done much more. They claimed that the robbery/murder was set up by another man.
So said, so done. Information from the interrogation is that one of the men admitted to giving “dem de wuk.”
That is only one case of unreasoning young people. A youngster who was cleared to travel to the United States with his mother gets into an argument with another young man for $500, the equivalent of US$2. He grabs a knife and stabs the older person to death. He must now face the judge, fortunately on a manslaughter charge.
There are many such cases. Incidentally, the moneychanger killed recently was the second in recent times. One was killed on High Street even as he parked his car.
My colleague Nigel McKenzie keeps telling me that things have got out of hand, that people seem to have a penchant for taking what belongs to others. He tells me that many such crimes go unreported. He showed me a video recording posted online, taken from a closed circuit camera. There is this woman walking down the street. A motorcyclist is fast approaching her. Just as he reaches her, he grabs her handbag and takes off. She runs behind him.
A short while later he is seen speeding in the direction from which he came. I am not sure that he still had the handbag.
There was another video which showed a man standing on a bridge in Lime Street, Werk-en-Rust. Three men on bicycles ride up to him. One of them points a gun at him while the other two go through his pockets. They then ride away. Not a soul appears to have seen the incident.
Then there was the case of a Charlestown resident who later told the court that he lives in Sophia. He is in South Cummingsburg when he spots two nurses. He proceeds to rob them. What is theirs is his.
His escape was short-lived. When he was in police custody he tried to escape and got shot for his effort. He is still before the courts.
This same individual attacked my grandson who happened to be able to defend himself somewhat. He fought, got some cuts for his efforts, but managed to hold on to what he had.
When I was growing up I couldn’t steal anything. If I went home with something that didn’t belong to me I was made to take it back. That is not often the case these days, so young men continue to pursue what is not theirs.
Scarcely a day goes by without the nation being assailed with reports of men raping particularly young girls. Again they take what is not theirs. They head to jail for long spells when convicted, but that does not seem to faze others. One sicko even raped his own grandmother.
Somebody said, recently, that there is no manual for parenting, but societal norms usually determine how we should bring up our children. I brought up my own and none of them went after what is not theirs, except for the odd fruit that hung on neighbours’ trees.
To this day, my grown children would sit in a room of money or jewellery and not touch anything, because they were taught not to touch what is not theirs.
In Beterverwagting, the same thing prevailed. People respected what others had. Today some may have difficulty doing that when they look at some politicians who seem to amass wealth out of thin air.
Glenn Lall would say to me, “Adam, what can you expect when young people see politicians stealing and getting away with it?”
That is why so many people are disappointed that the Granger administration has so far failed to prosecute so many politicians who secured ill-gotten gains.
Perhaps that is why, as Nigel McKenzie says, “Things are out of control.”
Are the young people emulating the politicians?
For starters, the Guyana Revenue Authority can ascertain who got what legitimately. It has failed to do so. Perhaps if a few politicians are hauled before the courts, we may see a decline in the number of people going after what is not theirs.
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