APNU+AFC is not providing the good governance which is important in fighting crime

Dear Editor,

The crime situation has become extremely troubling. The fact is that the crime level has increased significantly and is seriously affecting all in the society. It is adding to the already high cost of living since businesses have to now spend more on security, thus resulting in higher prices for goods and services.

The rise in crime has become so pronounced that the police have stopped publishing the crime statistics since April of this year. Indeed, the situation is worse than is being reported, since many persons view reporting some crimes as a waste of time. They don’t expect any action to be taken.

In these circumstances, some people tend to blame the police. However, the problem goes much deeper than just the police. The crime situation is rising despite the good work of the police. It is clear that this crime wave that we are experiencing is a result of the difficult situation in the country as a whole. The economy is not expanding. Rather, in most sectors, it is contracting. Several companies are downsizing and even closing. Barama has shut shop in the Essequibo.  Baishanlin has closed. Jialing has closed as well.

The medium and small gold miners are experiencing hardships as a result of the regime’s unsympathetic attitude to them. The regime favours the big mainly foreign companies.

At the same time, the APNU regime is moving to close the sugar industry. Already, some two thousand workers from the Wales estate have been put on the breadline. Thousands of others are under grave threat at the Rose Hall, Enmore, Uitvlugt and Skeldon Estates.

Business in the commercial sector has fallen so low that many companies have been reluctantly sending home workers. Some workers with service of twenty and more years are being dismissed as businesses claim they cannot afford to pay them any longer. Only recently, we read that two garbage collection companies are badly affected due the non-payment by City Hall for services provided. One announced that it is sending home forty-five workers. The other said if things don’t change with City Hall, another forty-five workers will be sent home. Construction has slowed to a minimum and this sector too is shedding jobs. All of this is fuelling the crime wave.

The huge top-heavy bureaucracy created by this regime is another factor that is pushing up the crime wave. The cost of government has skyrocketed. We know that this regime has increased the ministerial complement by more than fifty per cent. Additionally, they have increased their salaries by some fifty per cent. Their allowances, including travelling both internally and internationally, have gone into the stratosphere. We have to take into consideration as well that the additional ministries have to be staffed, and vehicles, offices and equipment provided. These are huge costs. We are also aware that contract employees in the public service have increased. Unlike the PPP/C period, when most contract employees’ salaries were tied close to the public service, those under this regime have become very big. Many of these people have nothing to do. To finance this bureaucracy, the regime has resorted to increased taxation.

Taxes are being put on everyone directly and indirectly. We have seen the regime taxing people’s kitchen gardens, demanding taxes from persons owning more than three dogs, taxing donkey carts and aggressively going after farmers and minibus operators. Many small businesses are being hounded for taxes.

All of these taxes imposed on the poor are discouraging production and killing initiatives and the entrepreneurial spirit.

Taxes are also part of bigger businesses. However, in the final analysis, it is the ordinary taxpayer who must pick up the bill. Taxes imposed on businesses are treated as a cost and therefore added on to the price of goods. Those taxes drive up prices and slow down sales.

To deal with this situation, businesses cut cost by dismissing workers and/or take up prices, or both.

While the government is raking in billions more in taxes it is doing it in an economy that has slowed and is grinding to a halt.

Another factor that is influencing the crime wave is the way this government is being managed. When people see the opulent lifestyle of some members of the regime while they are suffering, it does not inspire them to do their best. Moreover, when they add to that luxurious lifestyle the total disregard for transparent governance, for example, the bond fiasco, the absence of tendering for projects, etc, they conclude that corruption is rampant at all levels of the regime. This must impact on many young and impressionable minds. Often, it leads them to crime.

While the police are often castigated when crime spikes, they can only do so much and no more. The root cause of this scourge lies in the economic and political management of our country. The APNU+AFC regime’s failure in all sectors of the government is the fundamental reason for this high crime rate. They must bear full responsibility.

Young people are the most hard hit in this situation. Thousands who leave school and other institutions of learning cannot find employment. This is leading to grave frustration. In this grim situation some resort to crime. All the rosy promises that were made to our youths by the APNU+AFC have proven to be just deception.

Good governance is important in fighting crime and this regime has proven that it is incapable of providing this.

Yours faithfully,

Donald Ramotar 

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