I thank you for the tribute to Mr Rachpaul in your editorial of Thursday, August 25. Mr Rachpaul was a truly decent human being and did not deserve to die like that. As Rev Bisnauth said in his sermon at the funeral, Mr Rachpaul was in church 99 out of every 100 Sundays, in his customary pew. I am sure he was there every Sunday, but we err on the side of caution.
I still grieve over this murder, for someone who was no relation to me, for several reasons. One, from seeing the gentleman in church every single Sunday I attended. Second, because he was 84 years old and in perfect health, as far as anyone could see, and he appeared to be much younger, so he could have lived to be 100. Third, because he worked hard all his life and no one had the right to steal from him, much less to brutally murder him. And fourth, because more than likely, his murder will never be solved and no one will pay the consequences for this heinous act.
I am moved to write because a few years ago another elderly citizen was murdered by bandits or thieves – not sure which is the right word, maybe criminals? – and this was someone I knew from work. Mr Mohamed was an attendant at GH where I worked at the time, transporting patients to and from the OR before and after surgery, a truly decent human being who had just retired from the hospital and was doing what he thought was a safe job, driving children to and from school. As far as I know no one was ever apprehended for his murder either.
And then there is the recent murder of Mr Mohamed Haniff, maybe 2 weeks ago. Many years ago Mr Haniff was a patient of mine at GH and for some reason I never forgot his face because I saw him all the time at the clinic where I work now and also he was a watchman at my neighbour’s house a few years ago.
These are just 3 men whose murders are unsolved. There are hundreds more. And this is wrong. Where are we headed? Why did we allow this state of affairs to get so out of hand? Each one of us has our own area of expertise. I am in no way trying to tell anyone how to do their job, but my goodness, if you cannot do what is expected of you then step aside and let the experts in. Either lead or follow. But do not take us down this road of despair. I know I will get tons of criticism for this, but we absolutely need to start hanging criminals again. Life is too cheap in Guyana. I do not want to hear it is worse elsewhere. This is where I live and I know we can do better. All it takes is the will, then we move on from there. But we cannot allow the drug wars and the need for drugs to continue unabated. People will kill for less than $1000 in this country. People kill and there are no consequences for their actions. None. I applaud the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago for instituting a limited state of emergency in her country. She means business. She will get results. What are we waiting for?
On a totally unrelated matter, on Wednesday afternoon, at the corner where I live, an out-of-control police vehicle knocked down an old woman who died 6 hours later in hospital. Will that policeman be prosecuted for causing death by dangerous driving? He did not stop at the major road as he should have. What is the big hurry in Guyana? This old woman has no relatives (according to the newspaper reports) so I hope the Police Force will do the decent thing and give her a proper burial at the very least, and then investigate their rank for his actions.
I grieve every time I read of a murder, and that is every day in Guyana. If I, a total stranger to these people, feel their passing so much, how much more their loved ones? Each one of us has at least parents and grandparents, and most of us have siblings and children, nieces and nephews, cousins, aunts and uncles. Each life must count. We must do better.