The outcries take different forms and come from different voices. In one day, there was a letter, a column, and an article in a newspaper about the Guyana Police Force. From the declines around the ‘big market’ now, a bigger crime scene to the return to its failed old ways to complaints of avoidance by dodging seniors before inquiries of junior press sleuths.
To pronounce, not good, not promising, not comforting. Not for the institution. Not for society. Not for small men and women hustling about their law-abiding way in public. Each day brings more urgent rushing, if only to minimise the time out of the house.
It can be dangerous to health, lethal sometimes. Making oneself small is not enough; making oneself scarce is better.
As the watchfulness (intensified), criticisms (justified), and fears (multiplied) grow to unrelenting pitches, the GPF finds itself up the proverbial creek without a paddle. The candid thinking of this publication is that it might be more than a paddle. For the GPF looks like it has no boat to take advantage of any rising tide. That is, other than the lashing, scorching tides that rain over it from all corners, and with different degrees of heat. This is being kind.
This is because the Guyana Police Force is just about the most scrutinised, most suspected, and most damned public entity in this country. A quick, random look reveals the following. The GRA is neither liked nor held in any esteem. This happens when money must be handed over to the state, no matter how rightly due. It is tolerated, at best, and only under duress. This applies to most opposed taxpayers. People get by with a grimace and curse.
Then, there is the infuriating, inflammatory, incandescent GECOM, that stepmother of all Guyanese wickedness. Even in good times, it gets a bad name. It can do no right, pleases no one, has no friends. The enemies are many. It cannot be trusted. It cannot count. It cannot be relied upon to deliver in the crunch, of course, unless it is for the other side.
It is more than between the devil and the deep blue sea. GECOM exists in the midst of the worst of two realities: it is trapped between a flushing, overflowing septic tank and a haemorrhaging draining funeral home. It is forced to grin and bear, as it takes one body blow after another from a multiplicity of adversaries.
But GECOM has one saving grace that provides some much-needed respite. It is seasonal. Like an airline pilot, there is the boredom and drag of everyday routines during midflight 99% of the time. And then sometimes, there is the harrowing through converging cataclysmic ordeals. This can mean life or death.
GECOM knows of this because most of the time, most citizens and warring party people do not have the time of day for its presence. They could care less as to what it does or doesn’t do during the long intervals of its meaningless (to voting supporters) operational life.
National elections in Guyana, however, are about the immediate, the catastrophic of the existential. In political terms, issues distill to a matter of life and death. Just like the flyboys holding the fate of many in their suddenly sweaty hands.
Unlike the unloved GRA and the unsatisfying GECOM, the GPF has no such luxury. Its operations and every action are individually and collectively under the radars of the sharpest, most unforgiving scrutiny. The police can neither flinch nor falter. The Force must not do so any time, and never more so than at this time.
Rather frankly, and most unimpressively, the police have done the opposite. For other than some sparse successes, they continue to fail miserably.
Because the GPF means too much to too many Guyanese, it must succeed. It must find the way and will to rise above its circumstances and its crises. We wish it the best.
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