It is the elections circus with all the usual gaudy promises and still fancier rhetoric that flourishes at this time. One of the high-profile issues taking to the airwaves is this or that anti-crime strategy, compliments of the fiercely competing political groups. To not have one (strategy) amounts to fatal weakness, it is better to have one, no matter how shaky or porous. It is under sharp scrutiny from objective corners of the citizenry.
This paper immediately welcomes any anti-crime strategy worth its salt, which is the very least it can do, given the treacherous crime precipice into which is stared, if not lived.
It is treacherous, because as KN had cause to remind this nation in a news caption (January 6), “Robbery, whiskey smuggling, rape, murder…Cases expose worrying levels of criminality in Joint Services.” As stark and troubling (if not alarmingly harrowing) is that headline, nobody in this country, certainly no responsible, genuine political leader or group could take offence at the message and implications embedded in that title. They cannot claim exaggeration or inaccuracy, since this is the reality, raw and piercing and frightening. Just ask residents anywhere and commuters everywhere, and there are the stories, the fears, and the deep discomforts.
It does not matter how robust or well-intentioned or different are the latest claims of anticrime strategies, some facts must be faced head-on and honestly, and first and foremost by the politicians. It is that, or nothing doing with any anticrime strategy, as it is going nowhere without such unambiguous admissions and truths. The first truth is that it is time to get past this nonsense, utter nonsense, that there are only a ‘few bad apples’ or a ‘a few rogue cops’ in the Guyana Police Force. That is a patented and palpable falsehood that cannot hold up before the facts and circumstances prevailing in the Guyanese criminal fields, many times killing fields. This has now seeped into the wider, larger Joint Services agencies.
This is real trouble, a source of serious agitation for citizens, and it ought to be, too, for political players, all of them, no matter what they have in mind behind their pious pronouncements about anticrime plans. Because when the arms of the law-not just its fingertips, which can be made allowances for, given human weaknesses-but its feet and brain and heart and its entire body are wracked by the disease of criminal corruption and characteristics and visions that are about ripping off the very people, it has sworn to protect, then there is trouble of the severest, if not unimaginable, magnitude.
To take this a little further, any society can manage and exist with a handful of thieves and wrongdoers in its official law enforcement ranks. But none can survive intact, or with any semblance of order and civility, when the people recruited and employed to counter crime are themselves perpetrators of one felony after another with numbing frequency. And, even as this is articulated, it must be understood and appreciated that these are only the ones that stumbled and ended up exposing and trapping themselves. In other words, there is the high probability that the iceberg-in its vastness and depth-is still to be revealed, maybe even contemplated at some levels in this nation.
So, when this paper learns of anticrime strategy, it is interested, but it is also guarded. It is guarded (not skeptical) because, when all the blueprints and grand designs have been sketched and completed, they still have to be implemented and given life by human hands and human hearts. What kind can those strategies encounter, if not what is there? What is lurking within the ranks of the Joint Services, with particular emphasis on the Guyana Police Force, if not to attack and fleece (even maim or kill) the unwary and the vulnerable?
After all, like constitutions, policies, and procedures, they look good on paper, they ring resonantly when given voice, but it is men and women, who give them the warmth of life. Men and women of proven prowess, of a certain kind of character and patriotic outlook, who stand committed to deliver and do so constantly.
We laud any anticrime strategy, as we ask: where are the people?
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