Consistency in law enforcement will lead to compliance by a majority of the citizenry

Consistency in law enforcement will lead to compliance by a majority of the citizenry

Dear Editor,

Behold! Here I go again with my lamentations about our inability to enforce some of the simplest laws in this country. Thirteen years ago (SN 14-02-2007 ) while the ‘Joint Service’ was engaged in an exercise intended to recover several assault rifles which went missing from the GDF, a sheep also went missing from a station pound in Essequibo.

When the police illustrated and demonstrated their inability to solve the simple crime of the missing sheep I surmised that they would have been unable to successfully recover all of the missing rifles which was a far more complex and intricate matter. As the events turned out I was right. I don’t think that the situation is any different today to what it was thirteen years ago.

This brings into focus the concept of the Great Train Robbery because it was expected that as we as a nation expanded our educational bases we would have become more efficient and professional in everything we do. Unfortunately that is not the case.

These days we have more Joint Services officers at every level, who are tertiary educated and trained yet we seem to be more deficient in law enforcement.

I am not sure that law enforcement agencies and officers truly understand their responsibilities to the citizenry within the context of ‘Service and Protection’. In the sixth edition of ‘Criminal Law: Text; Cases and Materials (2014) Jonathan Herring under the rubric of Duties of Law Enforcement, said “Police Officers are under a duty to assist members of the public in danger”.

This duty is endorsed by the Oath of Office to which every rank in the Guyana Police Force subscribes , which is detailed in Section 13 of the Police Act Chapter 16:01 and which , inter alia, contains the words “ I will cause the public peace to be kept and preserved by preventing to the utmost of my power all offences”.

This oath reinforces observance of the Rule of Law on a consistent basis in contradistinction to the mischievous Rule by Law which emerges ever so often.

It is reported in Fundamentals of Caribbean Constitutional Law (2015), that the learned professor Dicey defines the Rule of Law to mean “that no man is above the law…whatever his rank or condition”, yet some persons in our society are allowed to break the law with impunity.

It is against that background that I submit that ‘ah vex, ah blue vex, ah vex till ah want to get ‘hangry’ but I am silently reminded that I need to be quick to listen, slow to speak and even slower to be angry’.

But then what am I vexed about? I am vexed that we are in another silly season when the peace and tranquility of the atmosphere in the countryside neighbourhoods, in the cities, towns and everywhere else are frequently disturbed by the explosion of pyrotechnic devices popularly known as squibs.

I am vexed also, that the police and other law enforcement agencies like the GRA will continue to insult the nation by fooling us that they intend to prohibit the importation and use of those illegal and dangerously destructive devices.

Every year at this time, regardless of how much some citizens complain we are regaled with empty and fake promises of protection from the noise nuisance, injuries and fatalities associated with the squibs

When will we learn that consistency in law enforcement leads to compliance by a majority of the citizenry? I humbly and respectfully invite the Commissioner of Police and the Commissioner General of the GRA to explain to the nation the rationale behind the sale of squibs throughout the length and breadth of the Republic. For one thing police ranks seem to have abandoned their Oath of Office, while the Rule of Law has collapsed much to peril of our nation, and that makes me damn vex.

Yours truly,

Francis Carryl

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