Encouraging Events, Disturbing Developments
By GHK Lall
Kaieteur News – There is no delight in harbouring misgivings about the Guyana Police Force (GPF). Nothing that is comforting comes from such negatives. After all, we depend on the members of this embattled and not-well-thought-of law enforcement presence to watch out for us, to safeguard whatever little or much we have, and to be there for us. But when there is indifference or dissension in the GPF that is not good for Guyanese. It never can be, for such distracts from the vitally important work and responsibilities that the GPF is saddled with fulfilling. Since, this is becoming more and more apparent, the disturbing occurs, and too much of it. It is where I am (and I think numerous other Guyanese) about the disturbing state at the individual and structural levels of the GPF.
The hasty and intemperate will not help either the GPF, or the citizens of this society, who feel as if they are under constant attack. It is why I try – I struggle for what is more of the cautioning, a little of counseling – to offer to the senior management of the GPF, and its middle and lower ranks. From Monday’s edition of KN came two news stories, both of which set back on heels. The first was of the casual manner in which some members of the GPF understand and respond to the demands of our times, and their own obligations to set an example; while the second painted a troubling picture of the conflicts raging inside the higher elevations of this sensitive constitutional agency: there is a war going on for the very soul of the GPF. As that conflict goes and pans out, so will the results and standards be, with Guyanese who all depend on the GPF for their safety and security, their day-to-day wellbeing.
Regrettably, the first instance was about how unthinking and irresponsible all of us can be. When it happens to be the handiwork and example of members of the GPF, on this occasion two of them, it speaks also of rank indiscipline and reckless disregard for a lot of things. The wedding, that special day for two police officers, had to be interfered with by the COVID-19 Task Force. By now, most of us are (or should be) familiar with the restrictions on place, and how they limit us, especially in social settings. A wedding is a time of gathering and celebrating, that once in a lifetime moment of human splendor. But because of the pandemic and the consistent damage being inflicted on the world and this society, such gatherings and celebrations can’t be now. Not allowed. Not condoned. The wedding of the two happy GPF members had to be stopped.
I ask myself: why did matters have to come to this? Why there could not have been more consideration and observation of what the rules required, by those who ought to do what law and protocols and standards demand? And never more so, than at a time like this? Too frequently, there is too much of this negligence, of disrespect, by members of the GPF for what they should not do, and where they should not go. In the streets. With the public. How they manage themselves and their heavy duties. This disturbs tremendously.
What disturbs even more is what Retired Assistant Commissioner Conway articulated in a TV programme. This fight for power, as well as the divisions and the injuries that the consequences of both. Some of us didn’t need the spectacle of two GPF elections on the same day, or letters from the acting Commissioner that rescinded first and then reversed that recession writing later. What started out as folly deteriorated into full farce. And regardless of where others stand on this, this is not good for the public. Just cannot be, no matter how kind one is inclined to be.
There are issues of morale, of professionalism and cooperation, of regard for orders from seniors and respect for the standing of juniors, particularly those that contradicted. Trouble in the GPF means trouble for citizens. Unless addressed urgently, this could deteriorate further, for as the GPF goes, so does all Guyana.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
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