Dec 01, 2021 Editorial
Kaieteur News – The Guyana Police Force (GPF) gets beaten up and beaten down so often that it is good to learn of and write about a good development involving the GPF. This was what surfaced in media reports about one of its ranks at the Golden Grove, East Bank Demerara Police Station. We are thankful that there are still such officers of the law in the GPF, and we eagerly seize the opportunity to point to him, as a powerful example of what is truly inspirational. We are confident that he is not the only such professional and ethical officer around, because we believe, we dare to hope, that there are others in the GPF, both men and women, and at different levels of seniority, who are exemplary day in and day out, with what it takes to be an honest upholder of the law.
As we hail this unnamed policeman, we ask our fellow citizens to think of this reality. To be presented with $700,000 in this (what Guyanese call) ‘hard guava’ season represents a rare occasion to be tempted with that kind of money. To be presented with it, and then to turn it down flat, takes a special kind of police officer, brings to a pause. It is as good as a Christmas present as one can hope for at this time. This takes on added sparkle when consideration is given to the levels of police pay, and the continuing expressions of concern that such encourages the taking of bribes, or the soliciting of them to subvert the law, its operations, and its penalties.
Now, we think of this offer/bribe of $700,000 made to a police officer doing his duty, and cannot help to inquire quietly as to how many more ‘presents’ like this one is the reality that confronts policemen and women at every level, and in most situations. It cannot be a ‘one off’ incident, but something that is now embedded in our law enforcement culture, both on the side of the givers and takers. It is our position that almost all of those corrupting and criminal occasions go unresisted and unreported. This is what makes this particular policeman action so pleasing.
For, in addition to givers and takers, there are what we would term the ‘askers’, meaning those police officers who, during encounters with citizens that have broken some law, then smartly make use of the moment to enter into an enriching bargaining process. The violations could range from the daily and frequent breaking of traffic rules, which are out in the open, and visible to most, to more serious offences involving felonies, such as illegal possession of firearms to sexual predation to the inflicting of violence on citizens and their property.
We make no justification for their actions, whether ready givers or willing takers or negotiating askers, and for the simple reasons that such represent serious misconduct, perpetuate the low GPF morale, and bring lower regard that the public has for members of the GPF. On the other hand, we cannot ignore the contexts of an overwhelmingly crooked environment, and of leaders in many places, inclusive of primarily the political, commercial, and social, who embody the worst of corruptions. Those lower down the ladder hear of, read about, and actually have firsthand knowledge of those who cheat, or trick, or steal, to the detriment of wider society. As much as it may be attractive to others, safe and sane also, we cannot pretend that there is no such reality, little of such contexts.
Juniors observe this and they find it easy to follow in the footsteps of their crooked or compromised seniors. In fact, the seniors, may be in the GPF or broader public service or other spheres of human activity in this society. The secretive and dirty ways that our oil wealth is being handled at the top, serve as the best examples of how far and bad things are here. Nobody wants to be left back, or left out of what is now a climate of free money and easy money. So, it is grab and get as much as one can, because no leader, no group, is looking out for those below them.
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