Drivers at the mercy of traffic police

Dear Editor,

Kindly allow me to ventilate what is quickly becoming an epic in Guyana, if it already isn’t.

I have been a licensed driver for three years now. I have my own vehicle and I work at a bank in Georgetown.  More particularly over the past year, I am being stopped at least three times a week, put to wait about 20 minutes while the Police stop other vehicles and line them up, then they come back to me and ask for my documents.

In my discussion with other drivers, the following frightening picture appears:

1. Drivers are being instructed to take their vehicles to the Station and are not being told why.

2. Drivers are put to sit “on the bench” and the arresting rank disappears for hours.  And when you try to enquire from other ranks at the Station, you are very rudely told to “shut up and wait”.

3. It seems that whatever “raise” is made is shared between a few ranks.  So it is difficult to get satisfaction from the Station Officer who may be part of the take.

4. If there should be a prize for callousness and discourtesy, the Police Force will win it easily.  There are extremely few Police Officers who show any regard for the ordinary citizen. Their main aim seems to be to make a raise every time they stop somebody.  Instead of looking to the Police for “service and protection”, you now expect them to shake you down.

5. Black clothes policemen set up road blocks by putting their vehicles in the middle of the road and they stop vehicles and ask for Driver’s licence, etc. very often, these road blocks are not near to Police Stations and people are scared, because these “black clothes” can well be bandits.

6. Then there are these police with speed guns who show you a reading way higher than the rate at which you were travelling. I am sure that they do not clear the gun after they had taken a high reading of a previous vehicle.

Editor, don’t take my word for it.  Put it to the test. And if Mr Greene doubts it, let him set up decoys and he will be shocked.

Yours faithfully,
Robert Seemangal

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