Frankly Speaking… By A.A. Fenty

How sordid my captions. One would prefer not to address such issues for the young and the world to read and consider.

Our socio-economic realities are, these days, so evident, stark, vivid, reported for exploitation (of newspaper sales and television ratings) and so thrust upon our consciousness daily, that it is impossible to ignore them.

But despite the USA State Department’s periodic “Advisories” Guyana is still not any worse than Jamaica; Colombia; Newark, New Jersey; Hong Kong or Haiti. Visitors are in relative safety in Georgetown, statistics will verify.

My concern today continues to be the availability of weapons to criminals – especially guns – all types of calibre and make. Close your eyes for a few seconds and imagine: how many less crimes – and deaths – would occur if no guns were available. Yes, the key to less crimes of violence and death is the lessening -if not elimination – of guns. Poor Ghetto teenagers in Agricola and Buxton access weapons these days. Rich, spoilt lads in expensive vehicles also have handguns like they have cigarette-lighters. I have always wondered: in times of near-crisis, or crisis, why don’t we embrace and employ drastic, innovative measures? No matter how unpopular they will be if they are for the greater good – ultimately.

Now, in terms of going after the guns, to get them out of the villages, out of the pouches and removed from urban hiding places, I am going to establish a unit of the police force in my mind. It is my layman’s approach in five steps, to lessen the prevalence of illegal weapons. No rocket-science methodology. Just my suggestions for my anti-illegal guns unit.

Sources and hiding places

First, where are these illegal weapons originating from? Suriname, Brazil, Venezuela? In cargo from countries we import from? So what should my police unit do? Talk to residents who know the border crossings! Employ officials, anonymous informers. Use decoys among the customs people. Collaborate with the police agencies in our continental neighbours jurisdictions. Are such methods beyond us?

Second, where do the criminal-minded stash or hid their caches? Schools, burial grounds, rich people’s roofs in vehicles? Search, search, search! But scientifically and again with covert assistance.

Third, My unit would work with chairmen of Village Councils and NDCs, with prisoners in jails; with proprietors of Night Clubs and with crooked cops once in the Force.

Relentlessly and consistently my unit would not only set up the necessary roadblocks but would carry out spot raids and searches at clubs, Mass Concerts (like tomorrow night’s session) even sporting events and cinemas. Let people bawl about inconvenience and “rights” but keep your eye on the prize and relate to the law-abiding public.

Training and legislation

Fourth, my Unit would seek to find out just who trains the young to use and maintain these illegal weapons. Who are these senior culprits and where is the training done? Are they former soldiers and policemen? Security guards? Are they crime bosses? Any political connections? Overseas linkages? What a lot of intelligence work for my unit! Gunshots do make noise in yards or backlands or forests.

Fifth, my Anti-Gun Police Unit would make even more representation to increase the penalties for possession of illegal guns and ammunition. No bail, more jail! Related offences to gun crimes and gun possession must also attract heavy – heavy penalties.

I submit that those five steps, along with amnesties and other offers to rein in guns owned by criminals, can go a long way in reducing the gun availability and weapon-related crimes. Trouble is: My force lacks consistency! Please, let’s change this!

Attitudes to rape

Two newspaper reports caught my attention, with respect to the heinous, gutter-level crime of rape, within recent days. Amidst the increasing reportage of incidents of sexual assaults, indecency, incest and rape, which all indicate a further descent into the depths of moral decay.

With so many eligible ladies as potential partners, why do some louts resort to rape? Because they are louts? I’ve read the psychologists’ reasons for sick, depraved minds. I ought to be impressed but I’m not. I hate rapists. Don’t tell me about hormones and urges. And the female allure and dress.

That’s why I appreciated the Trinidad Judge who just sentenced a convicted rapist to a total of 40 years in jail, even though he’ll just serve 25. The rapist also has to report to Trinidad’s sexual offenders registry for five years after he is released from prison. The rapist also has to submit to an HIV examination. Why Justice Mohammed “stopped short of imposing corporal punishment” and hard labour, I’ll never know. They don’t make fun with convicted rapists in T and T.

But even as an allegation of rape against a government official was swiftly withdrawn by a complainant, a Stabroek News report, on Tuesday, informed us that two young convicted rapists were actually freed on appeal to the Higher Courts.

Technical points contribute to their freedom after a jury found them guilty of raping a teenaged girl in Middle Road La Penitence. The Higher Court found that the Trial Judge had given “inaccurate” directions to the jury and had “under-valued” the defence testimonies. Wow! How the law helps!

Next week, I’ll touch on Josephine Whitehead’s views on rape and the phenomenon of dropping prosecutions for money.


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