It is safe to assume that the vast majority of citizens at home and abroad share the sentiments expressed by Commissioner of Police, Mr Leroy Brumell, when with the top echelon of the Force he met with a West Demerara Community recently; his plea for them to be involved and help is commendable.I believe the Commissioner is a good person and well intended. The big question is in the present environment, can he handle two vital conditions, which if not corrected will make his exhortations meaningless. Apart from the unprofessional heavy hand of the Minister of Home Affairs there are the following.
First and foremost it is necessary to secure the support of the government to allow the police to deal condignly with all aspects of criminality; people tend to take their pattern from those at the top ‒ a sort of ‘follow the leader’ mentality.
We see today corruption on the rise ‒ the award of certain contracts, the violation of our constitution, the ignoring of protocol. The rest is known; read Kaieteur News, and Stabroek News, Christopher Ram, Bryn Pollard, Mr Goolsarran and others who from time to time expose wrongdoing.
Many of our youths robbed of a National Service experience and a proper education look at what is a daily dose of criminal activity by the ‘big ones’; they see in their communities poor work by certain privileged folks, they see the rich flaunting their wealth, they see castles next to their shacks ‒ the rest is no secret. So which ladder do they choose to climb?
People commit criminal acts based on the opportunity available to them – the office assistant or clerk steals paper or a pen; that is what they can steal. The big boys steal millions in ways that we see daily.
The Commissioner must start from the very top, but can he? I share with the Commissioner this nugget of wisdom by Burke: “Example is the school of mankind, and they will learn at no other.”
The second challenge is for our top cop to ‘manners’ the rogue elements who operate side by side with some of the best women and men in uniform. These are the police who shoot first, then ask questions, who torture as a standard operation (see the dossier) those who take bribes, and some who themselves rob people. The proverb reminds us, ‘Never trust a wolf with the care of lambs.’
When a young man who has seen others close to him brutalized then expect with gun or knife in hand that is the language or style he will have learnt and will demonstrate.
I’ve been in a nearby community recently. The police cannot be effective until and unless residents develop a level of trust and confidence in them and will therefore share information willingly. However, that confidence, thanks to some from within, has been eroded though not completely lost.
We will support the Commissioner, but he should ensure that the Force is not compromised by ministerial dictum.
Hamilton Green, JP