Guyana’s Murderous Madness

-Bharrat, Benjie, Basmattie

– The Politics of the Seventh Parliament

In these Op-Ed pieces one is given to (hopefully) well-thought out analyses and conclusions, strongly-held, truth-and-fact views, sometimes preachy “lectures” and heavily-referenced or endorsed dissertations.

Not being too academically-gifted, I often eschew any personal inclination to attempt intellectual loftiness. Instead, using reasonable vocabulary, I share down-to-earth views derived from verifiable, empirical, man-in-the-street evidence. Yet from a legal, justiciable perspective, some views and knowledge would both be difficult to prove and win acceptance in a court of law. But all that will not deter me today from sharing my layman’s perspective on murder in Guyana as currently, sickeningly manifested.

The crime, the front pages

What is the real actual crime? The responses, the reasons?

Ordinary folks – seemingly, most of whom commit such acts – know that murder or homicide is the killing of one human-being by another. Related crimes are manslaughter – when there is a killing or “murder” of one by another but deemed to be done without express, implied intention or malice before the act; not a pre-medidated, planned deed; suicide, killing oneself, the crime of self-murder; all the other “’cides” – from infanticide to genocide; wounding with intent to maim, disfigure, etc, etc.

Those are the ordinary meanings we ordinary folks in the villages, the homes, bars and markets understand. Oh boy! Legally everything gets much more complicated. Especially if prosecutors are to convict and get murderers punished. There are, for example justifiable homicides and lawful killings. They have to do with defence of one’s life if a bandit gets ready to kill a policeman or when a householder is faced with an armed and dangerous robber in his own bedroom. (Yet sometimes, the innocent must still prove that the lethal force employed was necessary! (Huh!?)

Frankly Speaking, one of the reasons for the upsurge in daily murders, to me, resides in the fact that career crooks are aware of the fact that when prosecutors find it challenging to prove murder, they frequently “settle” for the lesser evil that is manslaughter. Lighter sentences, murderers out earlier (to continue).

Other “reasons” for today’s murders? Ignorance breeds intolerance and impatience, more importantly the ability to reason, negotiate, even to forgive. Also, a few reasonable men are frustrated enough by unemployment and unfaithful partners; their lack of faith, morals, religion temperance drives them to exact murderous, violent “revenge” on these partners; gambling and short-temperdness, botched robberies, vengeance, defiance of authority and respect; along with easy access to illegal weapons – all are causes for the increased homicides.

I’ll spare you the remedies residing in family, homes, church, schools, media community, government and police force today. By the way, what do criminals really think of governments?

And you list five reasons why publishers and editors ensure reports of murders are splashed across print-media front pages. In Guyana.

Perish the thought, but given the fact that our dwindling population is nowhere near the millions in Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and Colombia, Guyana’s murder rate will soon challenge those places proportionately! Heavens, besides our new drugs transshipment status, are we poised to become a regional murder capital too?


Bharrat, Benjie, Basmattie….


Just a weird, but sobering thought on Former Presidents Pensions and Retirement Benefits. Former President Bharrat Jagdeo is just fifty and, seemingly hale and hearty.

From a Unity Village–boy to PYO activist to Moscow-trained economist to Finance Minister and President of our Republic and International Climate Change Conservationist, he is now the first Guyanese Head of State in retirement to receive massive pensions and other benefits wherein he has no need to pay vital consumer bills ever.

He is establishing a foundation with, presumably, funding from pensions and numerous honararia – the latter from international organisations to which he is affiliated. Two villagers, both aged over sixty, are debating how much their younger fellow villager did as President to deserve the local benefits for the rest of his life.

Benjie a retired corporal of police and Basmattie a life-long fish vendor, are now called upon to help their grandchildren. It’s tough to make ends meet from their old homes in the challenges of their retirement. Once on television they both saw Bharrat’s current palatial residence now in use after he had sold the first one he built. And both old Benjie and Basmattie exclaimed. Then sighed. Basmattie declared to fellow villager Benjie that “De man en even marrid!”


During, after the 7th Parliament


Regard this portion as “the lighter side” of politics during, then some time after, the National Assembly of the Seventh Parliament of Guyana from 26th February 1998 to 15th February 2001.

Doing light, minor research on parliamentary periods, I came across interesting names and events beginning with the General Elections of December 1997.

Come share these recent remembrances beginning sixteen years ago.

The PPP/C won 36 seats and the minority consisting of three opposition parties secured 29 seats. Under the Presidency of Janet Jagan that National Assembly ended up with 76 members! How?

The PNC’s 25 members boycotted the Assembly for the first six months.

I defend politicians’ right to change their minds and their parties. So I endeavour to restrain my smiles when I observe the names of the PNC MP’s in the post-turbulent 1997 Assembly. There were Dr Faith Harding, psychologist, now a little disillusioned with the Brigadier. Sherwood Lowe, Raphael Trotman who called for apologies, formed the AFC and is now back as Speaker of the Assembly; John S. de Freitas – I seem to remember this businessman! Returning to Portugal!

Then there was comrade Aubrey Norton – the creature of the party who, this weekend, is challenging to lead it.

There was Sandra Adams who is now “reorganizing” Linden’s PNC (?); former High Priest of the House of Israel Joseph L. Hamilton who had led the ’97-’98 protest marches against Janet; and Neaz Subhan who later joined CN Sharma before heading the GINA outfit in support of the current administration. Neaz is also now a stage and move star.

Life – and political life – can certainly change huh?

Janet Jagan resigned in August 1999 and, out of the political blue, we were gifted with one Bharrat Jagdeo, and that became that! In 2000 (September) Ravi Dev began to ROAR. Where is that dude these days?



*1) No confidence vote? Watch for the courts, the delays – and GECOM in the spotlight.

*2) All hail the PNC Congress this weekend. Should it have a leader separate from the APNU? Who comprises APNU?

*3) One Sunday newspaper advertises spiritual assistance. From peace to cures for belly pain. How Guyana needs all that!

’Til next week!


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