Guyana was listed as the 85th least corrupt nation out of 180 countries, according to the 2019 Corruption Perceptions index reported by Transparency International, after scoring 40 points out of 100. With all the former APNU+AFC administration’s corruptions revealed by the PPP/C government since taking office, one wonders what the result will be for the current year. With so many ongoing investigations, the Auditor General is over tasked and overwhelmed with his duties and as a result, among other reasons, many audits have to be contracted to private sources. Guyanese patiently await the disturbing findings and the follow up actions. It is not strange but true, this was one of the damning reasons why the APNU+AFC Party, led by past caretaker President David Granger himself, was so adamant and persistent, to retain power at any cost and not to demit office.
Overriding for a minute the pandemic tragedy, the suffering of the impoverished nation, the heat of the high crime wave, the relentless violence against women and the traumatic abuse of children, having a field day is the front line story of the sad state of affairs of the police department. They have been the subject of much discussion and, gradually but surely, more and more of their nature (underlying?), are being revealed and exposed. This should be worrying not only for the Commissioner of Police and the Ministry of Home Affairs but also, the President, Dr. Irfaan Ali himself, who is on a mission to clean up all unethical acts and behavior in all the government departments and agencies. The past APNU+AFC administration disfigured the nation with the picture of a corrupted government, devoid of moral value, lacking the dignity of integrity, the intolerance of honesty and no respect for honour. This acknowledgement is acclaimed by all local, national, regional and international communities and remains a shame and disgrace to Guyana.
The police department came in for sever criticisms and condemnations, especially under the management of a debacle, the former Minister Khemraj Ramjattan, himself a current subject of controversies and suspicions. The impotence of his authority cannot be misguided and his “rubber stamp” position was effected by the hierarchy of the APNU+AFC coalition and its “bigwigs” calling the shots. The timely and strategic changes simply underlined the guilt of that government and a president who never meant well for this nation. Inclusive in this way of thinking, were the appropriate and sly changes in the army to reinforce the safety and security of that party and its selected members.
Who is policing the police, internally and externally, is an uncomfortable thought and leaves an open door for discussions, disbeliefs and deliberations. Without any exemption, the general consensus wants to agree without any hesitation that, police officers should be the role models for society. But recent events leave much to be desired from the men and women in uniform, representing a discipline force that exercises the control, execution and practice of law, order, rules, regulations, dignity, honesty, integrity, justice, fairness and equality. A display of sound judgment is required daily in the defense of their line of duty, whether officially or as a civilian.
Here are a few selected and interesting observations, capturing the sour notes of a proud regime. The Guyana Police Force in a statement, confirmed that a Police Commander and two other ranks were busted with smuggled alcohol in their possession. The Commander originally denied any smuggling activity and later agreed to pay the taxes on the seized articles. All of them remain on the job. A policeman was charged with having sex with an under aged (13 years) teen and placed on a $150,000 bail. One cop was charged with causing the deaths of three friends in a motor vehicle accident while under the influence of alcohol. A number of senior personnel are under investigation for the dragging case of the missing 150 guns. Another case of $150 million fraud within the police department is gaining momentum or in abeyance. All these employment would have been under the watchful eyes and guise of the APNU+AFC.
The many revealed and unrevealed claims for “left or write,” in the Traffic Dept., are staggering and shocking. No wonder many of the new recruits are hoping and praying to be posted in the Traffic Department. It’s an open secret that police and army officials are loaning their guns and uniforms to bandits for criminal activities. Many such personnel themselves are involved in crime. Many files and reports have disappeared from police possession. Many incriminating evidences have been destroyed while in the custody of the police. Many seized items, mysteriously disappear in thin air from the police department. During the days of banned food items, the goods forcefully taken away from people, ended up in the homes of many police officers. Citizens are known to be under police duress while paying with blood, sweat and tears out of fear. Many police are known to look the other way for multiple reasons while being adequately compensated.
The execution of injustice in different forms is not an unheard thing. Failing to take corrective action is widely broadcasted especially during election time. Savagely beating demonstrators, seizing and damaging recording equipment and cameras from newspapers reporters, reflect the dark days of the force during PNC dictatorship. A head of the crime squad was implicated in criminal activities. A prominent Assistant Police Commissioner was reprimanded and removed from being the commander of a Division for doing the right thing and upholding the law, while making a “judgment call.” He was demoted because he refused to allow a lower rank officer to bypass his authority and disrespect him and he will not be a stooge to political autonomy. So many prison upheavals are most troublesome and the findings of illegitimate articles in cells are atrocious. Complicity of officials is worrisome and the sending on leave of the Prison Director raises eyebrows. The callous advantages capitalized by the rogue elements in the force have materialized in various forms over a period of time, especially under the PNC rulership. This is only the tip of the iceberg reflecting the down side of a Force, which needs the respect of society.