Sometimes when you look at the television and read the newspapers the Crime Chief, and at times the Commissioner of Police as well, boasts about crime being under control in Guyana.
But there are times as soon as they have completed their statements a major crime is committed somewhere in the country.
If you look at the types of crimes that are being committed daily, which one of them do they have under control? There are unsolved crimes, however, and these give a strong incentive to the criminals. Whenever a report is made and the police do not carry out a proper investigation it is a minus for the police and a plus for the perpetrator. The Crime Chief is supposed to have records showing the different types of crimes committed each year and how many of these in each category are solved. They must know where the deficiencies lie. Nowhere in the world can the police stop crimes, but they must be able to control at least seventy-five per cent of crime, especially in a populated country. Now certain serious crimes are spreading to different regions of this country, especially areas like Region One which has become heavily populated within the last five years because of its gold potential. This causes certain crimes to be on the rise there. I remember the Commissioner of Police some time ago made a statement in one of the daily papers that most of the police stations have vehicles, and those which do not will be able to get soon. I would like the Minister of Home Affairs to consider places like Mabaruma and Port Kaituma so they can have their own vehicles and can man the different areas – especially Port Kaituma. They need to make periodical visits to some of these backdam places such as Eyelash (real name Kamwatta) and other surrounding areas. Eyelash is about forty miles away from Port Kaituma. I was there a few weeks ago having a beer at a shop, and I saw for myself in broad daylight that it was like the Western front. Some guys were wielding cutlasses and knives; when you look at their performance there is always the potential for crime.
These gold areas are far flung; it takes you 8 to 9 hours to reach certain backdams. If a crime should happen in those areas the police have no chance. One shop owner told me the police should patrol the area. One foreigner mentioned that if he committed a crime he could not be caught because he knows the bush better than the police.
I was speaking with a senior police officer in his office and he told me his station is badly under staffed and because of that they could not cover certain areas. The government should place heavy emphasis on police in interior locations; they should make them feel at home and equip the station with certain comforts. They should send qualified policemen to interior locations, especially on the borders, where they have to encounter the foreign languages spoken by visitors. They must be able to communicate to make their work easier.
The police force should learn to accept more qualified applicants. It will upgrade the standard of policemen and women. Let them understand as long as they are in the police force they are still human beings, and this will enable them to have some respect for human rights. I remember a police officer told me once that being a policeman is not an honour. Police officers in general should learn to have more respect for their motto, ‘Service and Protection.’ If you have educated police personnel you tend to have a better society and there will be a reduction in crime. Ethics and professionalism were damaged by some members of the force who were protected by the Ministry of Home Affairs. Some police behaviour reflects very discreditably on the force. The police force needs to be retooled.