Eyewitness: Where to begin…

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…with the Police
Our Police Force is comparatively small – a beefed-up 4900 ranks representing a 37% increase between 2014 and 2019 by the PNC. So, it’s very shocking when we hear from Commissioner of Police (ag), Nigel Hoppie that 47 of them are currently before the courts facing CRIMINAL charges. That’s 1% of the GPF accused of committing criminal acts! And we know like everything else in Guyana, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Most folks don’t bother to bring action against the Police for fear of vindictive retaliation.
On that front, surely it wasn’t coincidental that in the same edition of the newspaper that reported the shocking percentage of criminally charged Police, the owner of Giftland Mall wrote to the press of his facility – the LARGEST Mall in Guyana – being targeted for shakedowns by the police on a routine basis. Now if the Police – and he identified the commanding officers responsible – can target Giftland, imagine the travails of ordinary businesses and (Lord have mercy!) ordinary citizens on the road!!
Now it’s customary at this point to offer a disclaimer to the effect that “not all police are bad”! Of course, they aren’t! But from all available evidence, the number of “bad apples” is just too high and citizens can’t be blamed for thinking the entire barrel is rotten! The stench from the said barrel is just too putrid to conclude otherwise. So, what to do? The first thing is for the powers-that-be to stop pussyfooting around the issue and accept that for the longest while, we’ve got a problem on our hands. And it’s a problem that goes to the nub of our very existence.
All the brains up to now, of course, have assured us that what separates us from that “state of nature” where our precarious existence was “nasty, brutish and short” is our ability to institute and maintain some sort of law and order. And in this regime, the Police are in the forefront of that enforcement. If they break – as it appears they are – we all go down that slippery slope into the law of the jungle. It’s also not a coincidence that their cohorts in the Prison Service are as criminally challenged!
The drive to “professionalise” our Police Force isn’t to produce a new analysis and Report. We have enough of these gathering dust in various cupboards. Those at the very top have to lead by example and demonstrate that they won’t brook any nonsense. And let’s not hear that it can’t be done.
When the “white men” were here, there was professionalism. We mightn’t have agreed with some of the laws.
But, by golly, they were enforced!
…on defeating COVID-19
As you, Dear Readers would know, your Eyewitness has been railing with upraised hands for leaders to stand up and be counted on the matter of enforcing the COVID-19 regulations. Well, this weekend, no one but the PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC, Irfaan Ali put his hand up in a most dramatic manner. Invited to be the patron at a T20 Softball final at Everest Cricket Club – where the Speaker of the House is the President – President Ali showed up for the last innings.
But he noticed that a significant percentage of the spectators weren’t following the “mask and social distancing” guidelines. And what did he do? He immediately took the announcer’s mike and announced his disappointment and disagreement with the organisers – the Georgetown Softball League – for permitting the state of affairs. Even though they claimed they’d given out masks, it was clear that too many spectators had been allowed in.
To their credit, they called off the match! Those who have ears, let them hear!
…on the order of vaccination
Following the 20,000 Chinese Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines, came the Indian 80,000 shipment of AstraZeneca. Now following the hygienic rules, the mass immunisation programme to herd immunity can begin!
So, who’s next? The elderly or the Disciplined Forces?