While the police not so long ago promised a sustained campaign against minibus touts on the bus parks, from all accounts the promised initiative has failed miserably. The touts have returned in large numbers, becoming more than a menace to commuters.
That aside it appears as if the promised systematic approach to criminal activities around Stabroek, Georgetown has also collapsed, since the lawlessness at the Stabroek Market area is now widespread.
When this publication a few months ago highlighted the issue of the touts harassing passengers on the bus parks, Traffic Chief, Lynden Isles, in response promised to delegate ranks at each minibus park to restore order, and rid the parks of the menace.
Also former Crime Chief, Lyndon Alves, responding at that time to a spate of criminal actives around the Stabroek Market block had promised a systematic approach too, involving collaborative effort between the Police Force, City Constabulary and other agencies to, if not eradicate, significantly reduce the percentage of crimes in that area.
The cries of the innocent continue to ring out and persons are scared to traverse the Stabroek area especially at night, for fear of being pounced upon by criminal gangs, many times spearheaded by scantily clad females who are used as bait to snare unsuspecting victims.
Some food vendors plying their trade in this area are said to be in great fear for their safety as the robbers and pick-pockets have now turned on them, relieving them of their hard earned cash. But vendors at Stabroek Georgetown are now taking matters into their hands and several of them interviewed recently informed that they have armed themselves with pepper spray and even sharp objects to act in self defence. One male food vendor informed that he has recently scrubbed and polished a mortar stick and will not hesitate to “bash in” the head of anyone who tries to rob him.
A very popular female vendor, who has been selling for over 10 years, divulged that because of what appears to be a failed police campaign, he has armed himself with a bottle of acid and would disfigure anyone who attempts to rob him.
After several articles by this publication, police were sent out in the streets in numbers (both night and day), and patrol vehicles was seen around the city picking up idlers and known bandits who were found lurking at the Stabroek Square.
This, however, lasted for little over a few months and then bit by bit the presence of the ranks started to dwindle. Added to this, the male and female sex workers working in collusion with bandits have reportedly returned and are operating in full view of the public just outside the perimeter fence of the Parliament Buildings, an area from which police had removed them some time ago.
For some strange reason the police had failed to remove a particular confectionary stall, even though there are reports that bandits lurk at this particular stall at nights. A police search had unearthed a quantity of ice picks, knives, and other instruments from the very stall, but the stall operator was never arrested or taken for questioning. There are reports too that the stall owner continues to sell marijuana in full view of the public, right under the very nose of the few police ranks who are seen in the area these days.
Traffic ranks are now a rare spectacle on the bus parks and the touts have taken advantage of the situation, pulling and tugging passengers however they seem pleased. The barrage of touts is seen on the Sophia and East Coast Demerara minibus parks. There they loudly use profanities as they harass citizens trying to obtain public transportation in peace and quiet.
The bus drivers are also seen parking wherever they please to park on the Route 45, Route 32, and Back Road minibus locations.
Many persons interviewed claimed they have lost faith in promises to thwart the unruly activities at the Stabroek Market area.
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