Nov 11, 2021 Editorial
Kaieteur News – Occasionally, citizens write to complain about lawless behaviour in their communities, sometimes right in front of their gate. Though the circumstances described may, sometimes, not actually meet the strictest definition of serious crime, they do represent what is disorderly, and amounts to quality-of-life issues.
Even though weapons have not been known to be drawn or displayed, there are ongoing fears that it is just a matter of time and circumstance, before such are brought into action, with possibly lethal or severely harmful consequences. The point is that they are there, and when alcohol and other substances are involved, things could deteriorate in a blink.
Citizens have complained about what they call chronic lawlessness in such far apart communities as the East Coast of Demerara, the Linden Township, and the West Bank Demerara. Though less talked about in the public space, by no means should it be taken for granted that such lawlessness does not occur in the Ancient County (Berbice) or Essequibo. The hinterland communities struggle with party loving, money spending, and merry making as outsiders and locals joining together to have a good time.
The complaints follow a regular pattern. First, there is a well-attended establishment, which serves alcohol, and may or may not have peddlers of flesh. When such carnal delights are in the offing, then the crowds thicken, and the free-for-all is more blatant. The noise can be deafening, and neighbours have complained from Kitty to Robb Street to almost every other street and village where such fares of the night are part of the fast crowd. Somehow the police is noticeable by its lack of presence, despite repeated calls from impacted residents. When law enforcement members do turn up, it appears as if it is more for the appearance of doing something, than actual doing anything meaningful and lasting.
For as soon as the police ranks have turned their backs and moved on in their vehicles the noise and reveling begins with renewed energy and volume. Too often, the police personnel who turn up seem to be on friendly terms with managers, and going through the motions. In off business hours, they can be seen transacting what looks like business with controllers of such troublesome places of entertainment. It is one matter when the partying is confined to inside liquor establishments. It is quite another when shops close their doors, and revelers decide that the party has to continue unchecked outdoors, meaning, right there in the street in front of somebody’s home, family, and possibly younger children.
This is when things take on a different complexion altogether. The arguing (what passes for a good Guyanese gaff among friends) rises to higher volumes and in the open air, with vulgarities in full flow, and without a care in the world for the people living in the area. Citizens subject to such abuses are not only disturbed and upset, but they are also angry, feel menaced, and consider themselves helpless. The late-night partygoers can be observed urinating in full public view, blocking people’s entrances, and making a general menace of themselves. They usually leave behind a nightly pile of garbage, which ranges from condoms to empty liquor bottles to the vile stench of their hours of carefree ‘sporting.’ Sometimes, they even defecate on people’s bridges or other nearby surroundings.
To add to the distress of affected communities and their residents, many of the alcohol-fuelled partyers own cars, which they rev unconcernedly in the wee hours and disturb the general peace of once tranquil communities. But before they get to this stage, which could be the looked-for signal that they are about to move off, the juiced-up boom boxes in their vehicles are given a vigorous workout, which is part of the showmanship that characterises drunken revelries and participants.
Residents in communities tortured like this, bemoan the steady trend in these lawless situations, and the generalized decay that visit the unfortunate. Meanwhile, the police and politicians say that things are on an upward trend, and that Guyanese have never had it so good. But ask them to deal with what is agitating, threatening, and frightening, and both groups disappear. Residents are on their own, crying over their circumstances.
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