May 15, 2021 Editorial
Kaieteur News – They have always been around, but usually in the four-wheeled variety, meaning cars; cars that are usually darkly tinted, known for handling well, and which could outrun most of what is thrown at them in pursuit. But there is a newer and growing phenomenon in the field of local criminality, a frightening one, which is of motorcycle bandits and bicycle bandits. They are alarming, because they seem to be able to crop up at will in any place and at any time of their choosing.
That is a huge part of the trouble, the bandits get to lay in wait, observe closely, plot their criminal deeds, and then make their move. They have been mostly successful, because they can be so elusive, very much in the manner of hit and run drivers, or hit and run guerilla raids: the deed is done, and they are gone before any identifying or blocking action could be contemplated. The bandits come out of nowhere, and always have that essential element that targets do not possess. It is the element of surprise. Alongside of that, there is the readiness to shoot and to injure seriously, the state of mind that does not think twice to kill, if the circumstances make that necessary.
Life is that casual, and the banditry that seems to shower all over Guyana, to be that universal. For, as should be coming clearer and clearer by this time, motorcycle bandits and bicycle bandits are no longer just a fear and reality in the capital city of Georgetown and its near outskirts. Far from it, for there have been not too infrequent reports of the same kinds of banditry on the East Bank Demerara and along the East Coast Demerara. The bandits on two wheels are spreading their attentions to other places, where there is a high likelihood of putting in a good day’s work, and reaping a nice, sweet harvest.
The usual harvest produces cash and a cell phone almost automatically; and on a really good day, there could be the added returns of jewellery lifted, or a vehicle (car, motorcycle) seized. As the reports, recent and going back some more, can confirm, the fast and nasty incidents involving motorcycle bandits (no bicycles ones, so far) have aimed at customers leaving commercial banks (either right there or down the road by stoplights), restaurants (for those naïve enough and reckless enough to stop for a drink or bite, after leaving a bank or heavily laden with conspicuous jewellery), and supermarkets (at any time of the day, but preferably nearer to closing time, since there could be the solid chance for a loaded cash register). In fact, things are so far gone, that even drinking places have not been spared, with establishments held up, and owners and patrons relieved of their belongings. Bandits would then make good their escape, with motorcycles known to be among the machines of choice.
In any crowded urban area, where vehicle congestion and heavy foot traffic are present, a motorcycle (or bicycle) is as difficult to grasp as quicksilver. It just can’t be held onto, and usually slips away in a flash. Like mercury, the same situation is at work with motorcycle and bicycle bandits: they are in hand and they are gone, just like that, with little to no control of anything of substance. Victims might as well be dealing with shadows, and their high-powered machines are as quick as they come. It is snatch and gone before those nearby can react.
This is a major headache for the Guyana Police Force (GPF). Its ranks are dealing with what is the equivalent of a powerful and resourceful spirit force. Watch here and it has moved over there. Go somewhere else, and the bandits are already several steps ahead in this bigger and bigger game of cat and mouse, but one involving violation, loss of property, and loss of confidence. Hopefully, there is neither loss of blood nor loss of life.
The GPF has its work cut out for it, but bewildered and besieged citizens are looking to it for solutions and any eases that they can get from the unrelenting rush of banditry, almost everywhere and in any surroundings. The criminals, seasoned or potential, are very skilled at what they do. They have the time and take the time to study targets of opportunity, scout out the territory, and gather as much intelligence as could be helpful to their operations. And then they put their plans into action and swoop expertly. In some respects, banditry (of any kind) in this society has now transformed into the precision of a well-planned and well-executed military operation, as can be gathered from the components shared a few sentences ago in this same paragraph.
This is what the GPF is confronted with on a daily basis, and to a greater and greater degree. Citizens have to venture out, and the bandits know it. When the law abiding do so, then they and whatever they have, including their lives, are on the line. It is as stark as this, and of intensifying national proportions for a while now. This is not a healthy or a wholesome way of living on a daily basis. Government and the police must move swiftly with concrete steps to give some substantive reassurance.
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