IN the midst of COVID-19, crime and commerce, the Coalition Party has recently come in for more criticism for their callous performance during their tenure of governorship, which includes cunning craftsmanship. An ongoing issue is the recent revelation of the oil saga which is creating mayhem and havoc in many corners, and causing discomfiture. The APNU+AFC government had signed the lopsided oil agreement, unfavourable to Guyana’s interest. Then there is the case of several plots of State land which were leased by individuals and then resold, resulting in huge profits. This has particularly been the case on the East Bank of Demerara.
A popular attorney and member of the People’s National Congress Reform, James Bond, has been arrested for questioning in relation to the land giveaways under the former APNU+AFC coalition. Another matter of engagement is the process of dumping over $742M worth of expired drugs by the Ministry of Health which began since Thursday. This was disclosed by Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, who added that the drugs would have caused approximately $3 million of taxpayers’s hard-earned money to be wasted.
While COVID-19 is taking a severe toll on the lives of Guyanese, the crime situation is out of control, and is rampantly destroying the peace of mind of all Guyanese. It is so chaotic that it is has devastating effects politically, economically, sociologically and psychologically on the lives of all Guyanese and residents in the country and abroad. This cumbersome problem is causing a panic among relatives abroad, and is currently contributing as a destabilising factor in each and every home here in Guyana. This deplorable and unacceptable matter perpetuates both white and blue- collar criminal activities. Recently, Guyanese-born sociologist and former senior lecturer at the University of Guyana in the faculty of Social Science, Dr. Tara Singh, had ample reasons to write not once but twice this month regarding the terrible and horrific crime situation in Guyana. He has articulated some of the damaging effects, and called for a national forum to engage in a conversation regarding this heinous situation.
Dr. Tara Singh has also impressed the urgency of this forum, because of the gravity of its explosiveness. Many editorial pieces, reporters and writers have echoed and endorsed his sentiments, and reiterated the immediate intervention of the government. The past government had turned a blind eye on this challenge, and opened the room to entertain speculations. Guyana has been the victim of so many corruptions and collusions under the APNU+AFC regime, and it is only now that Guyanese are becoming aware of all the white-collar crimes committed during their past five years in office. Even though this comes as no surprise, it is the Guyanese public, more so, the man in the street who has to pay the cost.
As if to add salt to the profusely, bleeding wound, since the publication of Dr. Singh’s last article, it would seem as if crime has taken an affront, and criminals have been further provoked. It is as if they are competing with the law enforcement officers, and challenging them to come catch us. A recent spate of incidents is of grave concern for reflection: On November 20, Deonarine Harripersaud was robbed of $3million while withdrawing cash at the bank in Nauth Village, Corentyne, West Coast Berbice. Then, last Friday, it was discovered that there is a $150 million fraud from the Finance Dept. of the Guyana Police Force; and a Sophia couple, Nyron Wilson, 33, and Nadira John, 19, were busted with $1.5 million in narcotics; 116 persons were arrested in Berbice for breaching the COVID-19 protocols last Friday and Saturday; 11 GRA staffers were suspended last Saturday as authorities continue their investigation into Belgium’s seizure of 11.5 tons of cocaine shipped from Guyana worth about US$1 billion; last Saturday, Koretta Otho, 28, of Plaisance, ECD, was confronted by armed bandits in front of her home and robbed of some $100.000 worth of cash and articles; three inmates escaped last Saturday from the Lusignan Holding Bay. “The issues of people escaping from the prisons have to do with poor administrative issues at the prison.
There is corruption at the level of the prison officers. We have been firing prison officers for smuggling ‘ganja’, rum, Vodka, Whiskey, and cigarette. There are issues of them making knives there, and so searches have to be conducted,” a senior officer explained. And last Sunday, a 52-year-old man from Tuschen Housing Scheme, EBE, allegedly took his life; then an argument over undercooked rice, resulted in a woman stabbing her brother to death at Parika Backdam, East Bank Essequibo, EBE, on Sunday afternoon; eight men from Corentyne, East Berbice, were arrested on Sunday engaged in cock-fighting, and in breach of the COVID-19 emergency measures; Monday night, CANU intercepted a Suriname-based Guyanese woman with 1.948 kilograms of cocaine at the CJIA; a 53-year-old Soesdyke, East Bank Demerara businessman, Terrence Dicikie, was shot dead in the wee hours of Monday morning by armed bandits during a home invasion; last Monday, illegal logs were seized in the Potaro-Siparuni area involved in illegal mining.
The government is encouraged to take immediate actions and steps to curb this problem, and the Minister of Home Affairs is urged to pay attention to Dr. Tara Singh’s suggestions. This matter is past nipping in the bud, and is deeply rooted in the heart of Guyana, and seeded in each home. Guyanese are urged, “If you see, hear or know something, say or do something.” It is your life that may be at stake.