How is Ramotar’s statement to be reconciled with the matter of police meals on Election Day?

Dear Editor,

I really don’t believe everything I read in the newspapers or hear in the electronic media, so if I was not present I would have been hard pressed to reconcile President Ramotar’s remark that where the rule of law is concerned there are no sacred cows, with the recent revelation that some $90M which was allocated for meals during the 2011 elections was not spent on that line item.  I know President Ramotar well (our comradeship was the subject of some very adverse comments and discussions back in the day), and I also know that he sincerely believes what he said at the opening of the annual Police Officers’ Conference 2012.  What I am unable to comprehend is how can there be no sacred cows (or bulls for that matter) when (if we are to believe Assistant Commissioner David Ramnarine) ranks were instructed to seek assistance from businesses in communities to secure meals during inlying duties.

Hard as I try, I fail to see how any officer or other rank can fairly apply the rule of law to a business person or other citizen who has fed him/her.  It may be natural for some to bite the hand that feeds them, but we also know the saying that ingratitude is worse than witchcraft.  It is also natural for those providers of sustenance to have real and sometimes unrealistic expectations of returns for themselves and families.

I would be among the first to agree that policing involves groundwork, but it must also be intelligence-based, and complemented by theoretical underpinnings.  We have to move away from a parochial mindset where every comment or observation no matter how well-intentioned becomes a target for suspicion.  We argue loudly that community support is the desired vehicle to drive crime into the ground, but we are resistant to any ideas which do not emanate from within our own concept of wisdom from on high.  There is a not insignificant number of ex-police officers some of whom probably for the first time are seeing issues through civilian eyes, and who with their experience and new perspectives can be very useful in the development of the GPF.  We ignore the potential and actual contribution of others and argue to the point where we are wrong at the top of our voice or ‘loud and wrong‘ as we say in the military.

The achievements of the Guyana Police Force will not be appreciated if their impact is not felt at all levels of the community.  It is foolhardy to expect that Jane Q Public would be willing to sing the praises of the GPF if she does not see real positive changes in attitude, level of service, humaneness, etc.  We need much more than few and far between plaudits for police work which is a result of individual positive experiences.  Let police work be one of focused interventions and improved service that is a norm in the execution of a constitutional mandate, rather than exceptions which require a song and dance.

Yours faithfully,
Patrick E Mentore

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