The Enmore police have recently embarked on a bicycle campaign in relation to lights and bells. Defaulters’ bicycles are seized. Many bicycles continue to be impounded daily.
Notwithstanding its merits, the requirements necessary to uplift one’s bicycle seem to have been devised by someone who wishes to see an escalation of the social woes that plague Guyana. Defaulters were told that they must produce a light, a bell and a receipt for the said bicycle (with matching serial numbers) in order to retrieve same. The persons affected are mainly youths heading home from lessons and sports clubs located in Enmore. Some of them have to travel as far as Melanie and Nabaclis. These are often young people who are taking additional lessons or engaging in extra-curricular activities to meaningfully occupy themselves, as well as for personal development reasons in an attempt to eventually alleviate the conditions of poverty in which they and their families live.
Many cannot retrieve their cycles because they cannot afford a light and bell and cannot locate a receipt. Some from this group are able to take public transportation in lieu of riding, while others have to walk or discontinue their afternoon/evening activities.
Many of the bicycles are fitted up. One might get a frame from a friend/neighbour and then buy the parts to complete the bicycle. In such an extremely common situation, how can one produce a receipt to uplift the impounded bicycle? It’s just not possible.
In such cases, one may be forced to do one of three things: 1) leave the bicycle impounded and let the police sell it for next to nothing; 2) forge a receipt to uplift it; 3) pay a bribe to uplift it.
The Guyana Police Force should pay attention to the likely social and economic effects of such actions. Such a campaign may very well send the wrong message to persons. As it is, the Enmore police could become vulnerable to allegations that it is just a scheme to make money, given the fact that they’re aware that many persons on the East Coast of Demerara won’t have receipts.
The Guyana National Bureau of Standards should not allow bicycles without lights and bells to be on the local market. Should such be implemented and enforced, those fitting up cycles will know that the onus is on them to purchase a light and a bell in order to complete the bicycle.
I urge the Commissioner of Police to revisit the policy in place for retrieving impounded bicycles; more importantly, the requirement to produce a receipt.