Dec 04, 2021 Editorial
Kaieteur News – In our Sunday August 1st edition, we carried a story titled, “Bandits caught on camera choking, robbing foreigners.” It is a disheartening welcome to Guyana, one which those foreigners did not bargain for, did not include in their Guyana travel plans. But it is now undeniable that crime is now hands down, in just about every place in this society, which the cameras caught of how Guyanese (and others) are waylaid and violated and traumatised daily.
Crime stories are so normal now as to be numbing in the routines of them occurring. The fact that this particular crime was caught on camera and pictured in our August 1st edition, in the middle of its unfolding, revealed so much of what is the standard here, and relayed so much, for all the world to see, wherever KN can be accessed and viewed. Political leaders and law enforcement authorities may not like such a disclosure. But before they get defensive and take aim at the media, the better first step would be not to smooth over with slick public relations releases and statistics (from which no one is comforted), but to acknowledge that crime is a serious problem, and on an everyday and everywhere basis. The fact that this specific instance of a crime in commission, as caught on tape, did occur in the crowded Stabroek Market area says so much about crime in general, and that it is going to happen anywhere, without regard to the best of precautions taken, and whatever government and the police do.
If such a brazen example of crime could happen by the Stabroek Market, and in broad daylight, then we say it: no place is safe; which means that no citizen is safe, not even the upholders of the law, and whatever the dictates of the law. The Stabroek Market space is not some way out, remotely travelled area. Rather, it is mostly congested, and under normal circumstances provides better cover for pickpockets to operate . But the mostly younger Guyanese bandits of today do not need the covers of either the crowd thronging the busy area, or that of darkness, in which to function at will. They could care less about the camouflage of crowds, or the presence of such, which was what was confirmed by their actions and broadcast by the evidence of the surveillance cameras.
For there were the robbers choking and robbing, and unconcernedly and powerfully engaged in their criminal business, while law abiding Guyanese took great care to mind their own business and hurry along with that business. There were walking and moving passersby observing and proceeding as though nothing of particular importance was happening, with a violent robbery in full flow. There were seated vendors (possibly) watching helplessly and stonily at the spectacle of two possibly related robberies taking place right before the eyes. They all know better than to raise an alarm and interfere in any way, for they know that they can be the very next victims, or marked for later targeting. There were approximately six citizens right in the vicinity, maybe double that number, who were conspicuous for the careful distance and steady indifference they displayed. When the many are held hostage by the few, it is evidence of where things are. It is of how thin the line of protection is, mostly nonexistent, that stands between civility and daily criminal anarchy, between safety and growing insecurity.
This story and this picture tells citizens where we have been for a while now, and the criminal depths to which we have descended, and with which citizens all over grapple, and come out of on the largely losing side. This is regardless of what the official statistics say, however they are compiled, and with whatever objectives were in mind, when they were assembled. We are at the stage where the law is neither respected nor feared, and with the same to be said for officers of the law. When that happens, then the bottom is close to dropping out, if it has not already totally fallen off. This is where we think that we are, as lived by fearful citizens, and now anxious and alarmed outsiders.
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