Stabroek Business has learnt that some Corri-verton business houses are weighing the option of a one-day shutdown of their enterprises to draw official attention to their frustration over a worrying rise in violent crimes targeting business owners in the Corentyne.
Upper Corentyne Chamber of Commerce President Krishnanand Jaichand told Stabroek Business in an interview on Monday that the combination of frequent robberies and injuries to the victims, coupled with what he described as “no real response” from the police continues to place the chamber under considerable pressure. “We’re quite frustrated, actually,” Jaichand said.
The Chamber President was unable to say whether the threatened one-day shutdown of businesses at Corriverton was imminent, but said signals he had received from businesses in the area “point to a great deal of concern and frustration over the fact that the response of the police in the region is inadequate”. He said talk of a one-day shutdown had been triggered by a sense of not knowing what other clear option to pursue.
The Upper Corentyne Chamber President said while there may be some validity to official police views regarding a shortage of ranks in the region, much more can perhaps be done with better investigative work. “Some of us feel that a case can be made for bringing back some of the experienced, retired officers,” Jaichand said.
Asked whether the spate of robberies afflicting parts of the Upper Corentyne might be a function of high unemployment, Jaichand said he believed there might be even stronger links between the frequency of robberies and the proliferation of drugs in some of the Corentyne communities. “We have a lot of petty crime that is related to the consumption of drugs,” he said.
And according to Jaichand there are signs of “loss of faith” in the police by sections of the business community. “There is frustration. In fact there are times when minor robberies occur and people simply go home rather than make a report to the police.” He said that while the chamber continues to have a good relationship with the police there was need for the business community to feel better protected.
A businessman who was a recent victim of a robbery and who was reached by this newspaper with the help of Jaichand declined to speak publicly. His voice sounded shaky and he told this newspaper that he was currently seeking medical attention.
During the Monday interview, Jaichand told Stabroek Business that he was due to attend a meeting of the Private Sector Commission (PSC) at which he planned to make the Corentyne crime issue “a priority”.
Talk of a one-day protest shutdown arose over the past few days following the attack on businessman. Mitra Doodnauth, owner of Kumar Hardware store was attacked and shot in his hands though Jaichand told Stabroek Business that the victim’s wounds were not life-threatening. Jaichand said the expectation of the business community was that the Chamber would serve as a driving force to help address the crime problem.