We have to recruit from overseas for our corruption-ridden police force

Dear Editor,

Reference is made to the article titled, “Cops’ numbers were found in slain bandit’s phone -ranks call for corruption probe, implicate senior officer” (SN June 11).  Not again.  But yet again.

As usual, I did not read the details that followed that now almost routine and expected headline.  Headlines are more than enough for me to think volumes (and then share publicly) what is so sickening and paralyzing to this society.  I now proceed to dissect clearly that damning caption piece by piece.  It tells the story of law enforcement Guyana, political Guyana, legacy Guyana, and the naked wretched soul that is Guyana.

First, “Cops’ numbers” signify more than one. That is, more than one dirty cop and more than one phone number.  Why there?  For what purpose?  A bandit informant?  A confidential, secreted away murderer?  Perhaps, it was to advise “the slain bandit” on whose own phone their numbers were found that remittances for favours were due for early information shared; for fingering possible targets; and for extra monies owing because of post crime and investigation coverups.  This is an old story, and established widespread police culture.  Why else should that technology connection be there?  That alone is enough.  That alone suffices in other precincts to condemn for life.

Second, “found in slain bandit’s phone” confirms what all Guyanese suspect and have come to accept as hard unalterable truth: that part of the crime plague is from within the police force itself; that there are aiders and facilitators; that they make things happen; that things go away in the haze of “the police are investigating.”  Like hell they are!  They are busy investigating what will implicate their partners in crime, and then sanitizing files and neutralizing the thrusts of the few honest.  How large is the problem is still uncertain, but it is not immaterial.  Because of all of this, citizens have no choice, but to arrive at this hard conclusion: some police officers are, in effect, murderers and thieves: accessories; the getaway case jacket.  The thin blue line is the most dangerous and treacherous of lines.

Third, “ranks call for corruption probe.”  That is wonderful; perhaps soul satisfying.  But not for me.  Because who is going to do this probe?  A brother officer, who might be just as tainted?  And with what Masonic code of justice adhered to and meted out?  A transfer to the interior to prey upon the even more vulnerable?  I recognize that Commissioner Leslie James is trying, has had a clean bill of health (there is only kind in this context), and seeks to bring about change.  But what about the rest?  What about those in the upper echelons of the force and those close to him?

Fourth, and as if to confirm those stony suspicions, there was that bit about “implicate senior officer.”  It is not a tiny bit in terms of the cohort of the crime ridden that populate up and down the rungs of the police ladder.  I regret that.  I cringe at the mere thought of that reality.  But that is that.  And I challenge anyone in this country to contradict me.  Because everyone knows someone at senior levels in the police force (and almost everywhere else) that is compromised, on the take, and who can get things done.  Including alerting and sheltering and covering up for serial and occasional murderers, major and minor drug traffickers, and the whole range of misdemeanors and felonies.  Everything and many officers have a price attached for interfering and reconditioning circumstances to free the felons, so that they can terrorize society some more.

I think this country has, through the president, to commit to the fateful step of recruiting clean foreign bodies to bring sanity and some sense of security, that is totally absent in the citizenry, to stabilize the local situation.  Guyanese police managers do not have the nucleus; Guyanese police commanders cannot be trusted; Guyanese police work is hopelessly and tragically sabotaged.  Another investigation is useless; a separate committee of inquiry does little good.  More policies and procedures and trainings and urgings and warnings are all going to bring the same results: more crime.  More insecurity.  More distrust.

Yours faithfully,

GHK Lall

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