CRIME WILL EVENTUALLY CONQUER US
In Guyana, we are forced to return to the issue of crime. This is prompted by the upsurge in murders and armed robberies over the last month. It calls for a concerted response by the Police and by the newly elected APNU+AFC Coalition government. It is both shocking and disturbing. It comes as no surprise in a country where the hard core criminals seem to outnumber and out-gun the police. Almost daily the nation is bombarded with reports of shooting incidents and burglaries. It seems that there is no serious effort on the part of the Guyana Police Force to go after the bandits. Unlike the former administration which was complacent, the APNU+AFC Coalition government which in its Manifesto had promised to be tough on crime must act to end this increasing lawlessness. However, it is not certain that the government or the police alone can reduce crime; everyone must be involved because the high number of unsolved murders proved that the performance of the police has been unsatisfactory. High unemployment and under-employment among youths and the absence of adequate amenities and facilities in the depressed communities across the country, have laid the foundation for the high crime rate which has created hell on earth for law abiding citizens. This is a significant cause for concern for the government, because the illegal use of guns is the primary reason for the high murder rate in the country. People need answers to some burning questions, which the new political directorate should answer: Who are the persons or groups that are responsible for the illegal import of high caliber combat weapons, such as the AK-47 and AR-15 as well as sub-machine guns (SMGs) and ammunition into the country? Why they are not caught and prosecuted? Are these weapons entering the country with or without the knowledge of the Customs officials? The transformation of some relatively peaceful neighbourhoods and regions in the rural and urban areas of the country to high crime zones did not happen overnight. These areas have degenerated into fertile domains for armed robbery and murders by bandits with high powered rifles and guns. There are far too many illegal guns on the streets. Truth be told, there ought to be no illegal guns at all. Sadly, that is not the case. Gun-related crimes have always existed but in the last ten years or so they have escalated to the point where every gang member or bandit, mostly young people, is armed with these sophisticated weapons. It cannot be that the average criminal on the streets is importing these expensive weapons. This kind of business transaction requires huge amounts of money, which the ordinary criminal does not have. It also requires powerful connections/contacts and the cooperation of persons in high positions at the Ports of Entry. Since 2000, Guyana has had two Ministers of Home Affairs from the previous administration, whose responsibility was to protect the citizens and maintain the security of the country. None has made a difference in that, not one person has been held or charged, prosecuted and convicted for importing illegal weapons. As a result of their failures, crimes, especially armed robberies and murders have intensified to the point where it is threatening not only the tranquility of the communities the residents have enjoyed, but also the economic lifeline of the country. In fact, several businessmen have been kidnapped and murdered over the years which suggest, that murders and armed robberies have spilled over into the nation’s economy and have disrupted its activities. The almost daily murders and robberies by heavily armed bandits have tarnished the traditional image of Guyana as a tranquil, easy-going paradise where investors happily go about their business in relative safety. Today, the armed bandits are over-powering the nation. Either we conquer crime, or crime eventually will conquer us.