Oct 20, 2020 Editorial
Kaieteur News – A snapshot of what stands as local context should help to lift the curtain and reveal the stage on which Guyanese crooks operate. The problem is now compounded by awareness that many foreign ones are going to join their ranks, or already have done so.
Today, we live in a time, like never before, where there are ongoing cascades of white-collar crimes – involving many people and many billions. The technology revolution has provided schemers and swindlers with versatile tools and resources, which pose an array of formidable enticements that excite the greedy and hurry them on the road to financial doom. Ponzi schemes and bank frauds utilizing the personal and the electronic, house lot schemers and scamsters, prescriptive rights manipulators, and corporate and money laundering crimes, which rarely make the news, but are ever-present. They exist right alongside political crimes involving not executions of enemies, but the execution of deeds that drain the treasury and further saddle the taxpayers with borrowing binges to correct or cover-up.
Because of all these situations, the many reasonable fears that they provoke, and the huge losses incurred, the article in this newspapers on October 4th titled, “Guyana needs Specialist Police Unit to address growing fraud crimes” is most timely. This item carried under “Consumer Concerns” by Pat Dial has both relevance and resonance in this country, and never as much as like at this time. Some brief excerpts should enlighten as to what is now in the local mix.
Although expected, it is still alarming, to come to grips with the new reality of “fraudsters from all parts of the world…making their way here as they have done in the small countries with oil economies.” Those fraudsters are slick and sophisticated; they are well-versed in their criminal white-collar trades, which come from long, successful and, usually, elusive practices. This is what they bring to Guyana and before Guyanese already overburdened with looking over their shoulders for armed bandits that run rampant and have no qualms about violently relieving of personal property, even if it means that killing is necessary.
On the other hand, white-collar fraudsters have a single objective in mind. That is, to mislead and capitalize crookedly, through separating unsuspecting citizens from their money and property. They can come up with every scheme in the book, along with some new ones still unseen and unheard by locals. We have a long and known weakness for quick, juicy immigration promises that cut corners, remove barriers, and deliver bodies in the United States. That one is going to gain a lot of customers, who will pay well, but end up holding the bag.
There will be those frauds that promise nicely paying jobs through connections, enticing business ventures, and mouthwatering partnerships and returns that many Guyanese will die for to get a piece of the rich promised action. There is no blood left on the street, only a vanished paper, electronic trail, if there ever was one in the first place. The Guyana Police Force (GPF) already under severe stress, and with its back to the wall with routine local crime, would be heavily challenged to confront the white-collar frauds that are in the air and on the ground.
We think, and nobody should argue, that a whole host of different skills are required to understand, identify and faceoff, and take the fight to the white-collars fraudsters that are plotting their moves on unsuspecting Guyanese. The “Guyana Police Force must establish a specialist unit, the personnel of which should be well trained.” We are talking about highly qualified accountants, seasoned forensic auditors, and attorneys that specialize in white-collar frauds, among others. With due respect, the people who pass through the Police Academy do not have what it takes to protect Guyanese. More is needed, through the kinds of skills and types of people that the GPF must bring to bear to come to grips with what lies in front of it and this country.
Citizens should also protect themselves by resisting the temptation of believing that one could get something for nothing or the temptation of easy money. The fraudster assumes that the victim is naturally greedy and is naive or stupid; citizens must prove otherwise.
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