I was elated that our Commissioner of Police (ag), Mr David Ramnarine announced that his detectives had solved 77% of the murders or 88 cases out of 116. He further stated that there was an 11% decrease in serious crimes such as robbery under arms and murder. However he admitted that there was a 25% increase in robbery with violence and robbery with aggravation. There was also a marked increase in carjackings which he categorized as “alarming”.
This increase in robbery must have prompted the US government to issue an advisory on January 10th, 2018 to its citizens travelling to Guyana to exercise caution. It further states that “local police lack the resources to effectively respond to serious criminal incidents”. Unfortunately, we have been classified in the same category as Jamaica.
However, while I know that stopping murders is not feasible, their solutions should be within the capacity of the Police Force. It is heartening to know, therefore, that 77% of the murder cases have been solved, although successful prosecution is not guaranteed due to incompetence and in some cases corruption. But my point is that while Mr Ramnarine congratulated his detectives he failed to acknowledge the vital inputs from civil society, and in some cases from relatives of the victims themselves.
For instance, in the Faiyaz Narinedatt case, it was a member of civil society who insisted that the death of the carpenter was murder after being given information by the relatives of the murdered man. The matter was initially treated as an accident. This was similar to the case of a woman whose body was buried under some bora beds. And yet another similar case is that of the young man who was murdered and his body burnt in a hole behind a house. The mother and brother of the deceased man had to do their own digging and unearthing of the evidence that the body was that of their son and that he had been murdered. The police did not investigate this even though the parents of the murdered man had initially given this information to the police. In many cases the police actually ‘slept’ on the information fed to them or were paid to turn a blind eye. It is my opinion that many more murders would have been solved if the police had the will to solve them and they were not so ready to accept bribes. They do have the capacity. This is what the Commissioner should investigate.
This obvious lethargy and inertia seems to be getting worse since the police stations are now given free Wifi service. When one enters the police station, regardless of the time, many ranks can be seen with their heads buried in their cellphones rudely hesitant to even look at the complainant. Many times the public has to wait until the ranks have mustered enough will power to move away from the chats they are engaged in or the movies they are watching. Why should the police have their cell phones on when they are on duty in the station? They have the landlines and the radio handsets which should be used for communication purposes. Many times when these indolent ranks are disturbed to do their jobs, the ‘errant’ person faces the full brunt of the anger and wrath of these ranks. This results in citizens being very circumspect in going to the station. I am calling on the Commissioner to address this growing epidemic which is marring the efficiency and effectiveness of the GPF.
Currently, there are two serious issues which need to be addressed in Region Six, and despite numerous letters to the media the Commissioner of Police chose not to intervene. This has to do with the parked vehicles on both sides of the Corentyne Highway, and the ever growing noise nuisance for the mobile vendors and advertisers. Both are health hazards in their own right ‒ the ‘parked’ vehicles have claimed a few lives and the blaring speakers have caused disruptions in the lives of many residents. The list of products and services being advertised is growing by leaps and bounds. The Commissioner needs to address the issue of the Commander granting passes to the defaulters even though the EPA is the body responsible for the granting of such permissions. How much more can we endure?
I do feel that the Commissioner, Mr Ramnarine does have the ability to drastically change the current inefficient and ineffective modus operandi of the GPF since he has shown that capacity, but he needs to delve deeper into the white-washed reports from the heads of the various Regions and do some impromptu visits to these regions.