Recently, the nation received confirmation of the terror that grips this land, through the finality of DNA, which conveyed the fate in the harrowing murder of a key witness. A burnt car and body provided the smoldering clues that something was amiss, things gone wrong. Where to now on this one, which grows colder by the day, and where silence reigns impenetrable?
The murder of that witness tells us how far down the crime ladder we have descended. It is not the first one, but a daring one and frightening one. This tilts the scales of justice in a most highly skewed position.
In regular circumstances in a regular place with dedicated sleuths pursuing leads, there would be confidence. But, given how this country and its law enforcement machinery has declined, alarmed citizens question whether the perpetrators will ever be brought to justice, and the grieving family get closure.
There is uncertainty about this, when the circumstances of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) are weighed and found wanting. Who’s who over there? In the corridors of seniority and in the ranks of those on the job on crime-strewn streets? There is reluctance to share this, because it does no justice to the few striving constantly to make a difference.
For this pervasive national mindset to be diminished, the men and women of the GPF, at all levels, must demonstrate consistently that they are more of what is genuine and clean. And similarly, the managers who oversee them must be about what serves the best interests of law and order and justice. If not, there is disorder, with one crisis after another.
To point the way forward, there is this story that baffled in Connecticut, as carried by the New York Times on January 14th. It is of a suburbanite named Jennifer Dulos, believed to be murdered by her estranged husband. The problem is that occasional rarity in a murder: no body (like the one referenced here). That is a brick wall and showstopper. Yet, the husband has been “charged with killing her.”
Listen to the Times: “officials detailed their meticulous investigation. They drew on blood-spatter analysis and DNA evidence to conclude that Ms. Dulos was fatally attacked. Then, using phone records, surveillance footage and interviews, they built their case for Mr. Dulos’s…piecing together his every move.”
Painstaking and unrewarding for a long eight months, but all the time adding up, because of the honest efforts of police brass, police juniors, and collaborating prosecutors.
When things are added up, men are charged and brought to court. When found guilty, they are put away and made to stay away from society for a long time. But this only happens, is realized more frequently than not, when every shoulder is at the wheel and all hands are on deck in uncontaminated thinking and toiling: in the police tiers, in prosecutorial ranks, in the magistracy.
This paper recognizes that we lag in crucial areas: sophistication, tools, and resources. But much could be overcome when the officers entrusted to do an honest job, to move every obstacle, to overcome resisting circumstances, work untiringly and scrupulously and professionally. High performance, at high intensity levels, ensures that criminals pay a price, standards are enhanced, and citizens feel secure.
But none of this happens just like that, from wishful thinking, through hoping and believing. Those help, but there must be those values that lift up and drive us forward, through whatever stands in the way. This has to be the way of the GPF, of its peoples, who represent us, who swear that they will serve us and honour us. Those values need no recounting, but let it be sufficient to say that, if they are not there, then there is little to carry us anywhere, but further down.
It comes down to the calibre of men and women, who stand between us and the men who come with mayhem in their minds. As a family mourns in Guyana over the charred remains of what was once a human being, who in the GPF feels for them? And commit to doing something for them and this society? If we don’t have that, then we have nothing.
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