The cutlass is a dangerous weapon

Dear Editor,

The police force in Guyana is given the responsibility of protecting the citizenry from crimes in the communities. The cutlass is a dangerous weapon in other parts of the world, but not in Guyana. Every day without fail one witnesses persons armed with these weapons in naked view, strolling around the urban areas, including Georgetown, and doing so in full view of the police. Why is this act not being curtailed? This weapon is easily accessible. Anyone wanting a cutlass can get it without question. Of course, it is perfectly reasonable to consider the cutlass a useful tool, which I concede. But in a country where there are violent crimes and murders the cutlass is the weapon in use.  How many more murders have to occur to force the authorities, especially the police, to place the cutlass in the category of   ‘dangerous weapon’? Some workers ‒ cane-cutters, coconut vendors and landscapers who use the blade to earn an honest living, could be issued with permits. Anyone else caught without proper credentials in public should be arrested and charged in a similar manner to those apprehended with a gun or ammo.

I have seen persons made deranged by the use of illegal drugs walking the streets with cutlass in hand. I have heard others issuing the serious threat of “I’ll chop you up,” and in some incidents they carry out their intentions. I expect to hear the authorities say it would be too expensive to issue permits and to search for cutlasses. But what is more important than the safeguarding of life?

Yours faithfully,
Jorge Bowenforbes