Crime and no punishment

first_imgThe foremost job of every Government is ensuring security, both internal security for its citizens and border security from external threat. Given that President David Granger is a career soldier, everyone expects that he has expertise in this area and should, by now, have introduced policies which would have halted the rising crime rate.Instead, from the very first, Granger signalled that he would be soft on crime with the pardoning of criminals which ignored all the regulations governing such releases. National Security Minister Kemraj Ramjattan has followed up with policies and statements that blame the victims by establishing curfews to change our behaviour and now advising that we should use more plastic for financial transactions.Granger has further stated that the current crop of criminals grew up under the lawlessness that occurred during the PPP/C administration. The major lawlessness during that time was the Buxton-centred violence that raged for years. The “freedom fighters” armed with AK-47s claimed they were “marginalised” and the PNC were among those that justified their rampage against a democratically elected government and their perceived supporters, Indian Guyanese.According to a report on the transfer of wealth compiled by Dr Ramesh Gampat and Dr Somdat Mahabir for the GIHA Crime Report, 1.4 million were robbed from mainly Indian Guyanese by the Buxton criminals between February 2002 and February 2003. This figure included property damage and ransoms collected for the release of Indian-Guyanese hostages who were kidnapped and held in Buxton until their family paid up.Some of those criminals and their accomplices were young boys – now grown men, as Granger agrees – and having had a taste of easy money from criminal enterprise are probably not inclined to work especially since there is always the chance of a presidential pardon.But even before the PPP/C took office in 1992, there had been the near-30 years of the PNC dictatorship when kick-down-the-door banditry and open thuggery from the House of Israel and other arms of the state were the “law” of the land.The PPP/C did not spawn the lawlessness. They never, however, managed to curb it mainly because they never had control of the armed forces. That control was and remains in the hands of the PNC’s “kith and kin”.Instead of cracking down on crime, Granger is going after licensed gun holders, a move that would further embolden the criminals. Following the shooting death of a burglar in Diamond by a homeowner, the president spoke about reassessing the issuance of gun licences to private citizens, and a young police officer said to me, sucking his teeth, “The criminals have more rights than we.”It is obvious that morale in the Police Force is very low. They see no reason to stick their necks out when Government is comfortable with blaming the victims and when Granger might well pardon the criminals anyway.The president believes that the rise in crime is a conspiracy to make the police look bad and that guns are being rented out to criminals. Perhaps, he has evidence that informs such statements but, even if true, don’t the police still have to respond and apprehend the criminals?In all the reasons being forwarded for the crime wave, Government avoids stating the obvious: that the shrinking economy results in rising unemployment which leads to more crime.As with the economic downturn, the Granger Government appears hapless in its efforts to stop the runaway crime which targets the homes and businesses of mainly Indian Guyanese and Chinese nationals. Like white supremacists are emboldened by Trump’s victory in the US, is it that criminals here are as emboldened by Granger’s softness on crime?Crime, including political/racial crimes, has been flourishing in Guyana for 50 years and counting. The Buxton-centred violence during the PPP/C administration was undoubtedly used as cover for other nefarious activities and when that government led a pushback that resulted in the shooting deaths of many of the alleged criminals, the PNC and the “human rights” group were very quick to make a case for extra-judicial killings.As now, the PNC and GHRA were never concerned about the victims of the crimes. Crime has been used as a political weapon in Guyana and, because of this, there has been much crime and little or no punishment. It is ingrained in the national psyche as the way to get whatever you want.If there is a conspiracy afoot to make his government look bad, Granger only has to look at the past record of criminal behaviour to find the wellspring for that idea.last_img

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