Like many Guyanese, I have been following the increasing number of reports regarding persons being attacked/robbed after conducting financial transactions at various places, including banks. The automatic reaction to this seems to lay blame on the banks. Sure enough, banks are expected to provide a secure environment to conduct business, but we the customers also have a part to play in safeguarding ourselves.
In fairness to the banks, let us not ignore the visible security presence both electronic and physical at these buildings, and their many advertisements encouraging the use of various methods to make payments instead of carrying physical cash. Reports of increased criminal activity are seen in print and electronic media almost daily yet many persons continue transporting large sums of cash at the risk of being targeted. Of note as well, is the casual manner in which persons can be overheard discussing their finances and other activities in public, oblivious to their surroundings.
As citizens, we must do our part to inhibit the activities of the criminal element by changing our behaviour. It cannot be business as usual under these circumstances, and those operating businesses must also support this shift by using terminals to accept card payments, which will encourage consumers to pay electronically instead of cash. These businesses will also be protecting their interests as they will not accumulate cash on their premises to attract criminals. This approach works internationally and Guyana should be no different, especially at a time when we hope to encourage foreign investment and the need for persons wanting to do business here to feel safe.
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