Dec 31, 2021 Editorial
Kaieteur News – Daily dangerous reality furnishes ample evidence that rampaging crime batters citizens relentlessly. Worse, it bodes ill for this society that white-collar crime soars from within government quarters, leaving Guyanese in a frightening vise. This is where we take things today, while focusing on alarming crime throughout society, but hoping that such never develops.
It is a given, from perceptions and confirmations, that crime is out of control. We at this publication agree and dispose of it quickly, statistics notwithstanding. They do not reassure, not with real and potential bandits roaming at will on 2-feet, and 2- and 4-wheelers; not with dangers feared everywhere. Today, there are intensifying fears in the population, of rogues in law enforcement taking matters into their own hands, for their own benefit, or the interests of political leaders. Citizens are hostages, and agitated at how brazen criminals make killings, without regard for the law. One of the indicators of rampant crime is the silence index/statistic. There is a climate of no seeing, no hearing, no knowing. Self-preservation is the first order of business, with little trust or confidence in the police; especially when it is blocked from pursuing the connected, but is let loose on the little fish.
The police, have little going for it, is too often suspected of being a part of criminal schemes, too often a political instrument. That is the mindset of many Guyanese, with another being that skilled police public relations releases are to bolster a false sense of security. Public relations pros struggle with telling the whole truth, fail at nothing but the truth.
All this is frightening, plus the many other bigger things. First, when smarter, stronger, and more visionary men look at low-level, run-of-the-mill criminal situations, the police’s position, and the government’s own questionable credibility on crime management, those criminally minded operators can move crime several rungs up (or down) the ladder. In essence, the haunting spectre at which this country stares is; crime deterioration to the point where powerful criminal gangs reign supreme, operate at will, with the Main Street execution speaking for itself.
They could carve up the country into criminal fiefdoms which they control, with neither government nor the law in any strong position to upend them, or challenge them powerfully and conclusively. The assertion is that what we face in the not-too-distant future could be circumstances similar to Mexico and Venezuela. We would further assert that this may already be so in Guyana’s hinterlands, where gang law prevails, and security is another name for a ransomed existence. Other areas have only degrees of this presently, due to greater visibility, capital city proximity, and political determination to soothe foreigners about safety and stability.
We revisit Mexico, which is a special case. Heavily armed money cartels have infiltrated and compromised many of that troubled, wounded State’s protective layers, institutions, programmes, influential people, all of which are easily discernible. This is what could be in store for Guyana, and unleash the worst, with crime-plagued and vulnerable citizens targeted or caught in the middle in every place. Present crime levels could transform into blanketing fear and killing fields.
Now street crime in Guyana increasingly assumes aspects of what is taking place in the big American cities. Most likely, our youthful bandits don’t read newspapers, but watch a lot of foreign television footage, with brutal street crimes featuring prominently. It is where people are mugged from behind, upended, kicked and pummelled with feet and fists. There is always the hidden menace that weapons, knives or guns, could be brought into action without hesitation, regardless of the result. This looks likely to be more of the norm going forward, as we have already seen in the middle of town in the daytime.
Unless the police are on the spot, victims are on their own. Onlookers are cowed into retreat, which doesn’t look like changing anytime soon. Said otherwise, the vulnerable have to sort out their own protection, whatever form that takes. COVID-19 restrictions, with particular mention of masks, make the job of the bandits easier, and local crime detection more difficult. It is an altogether grim crime picture, with present crime everywhere, making future crime fears something unbelievable.
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