LETTER: City Constabulary should stop harassing Cuban shoppers

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Dear Editor,

It has been observed that in recent times in downtown Georgetown, some members of the City Constabulary have begun a campaign of harassing Cuban shoppers.

Now that they can hardly get a dollar out of vendors whom they have harassed for years, due to those vendors saying enough is enough and due to the massive reduction in their profit margins, many wayward constables are now pestering Cubans, demanding to see their passports to determine whether they were legally in Guyana. And if they accidentally drop a small piece of paper or the wrapper of a confectionery item they quickly pounce on them and shake them down. This is in spite of mountains of garbage all around them, created by ‘junkies’, but of course ‘junkies’ have no money to give them a bribe so they hardly bother with them.

The City Constabulary Department of the Mayor and Councillors of the City of Georgetown has convinced itself that is has the same power as the national police (GPF) in the maintenance of law and order in this country. But these officers need to be told that they have no responsibility, jurisdiction nor authority over immigration in Guyana.

Clearly, the Georgetown Municipality and their Constables fail to appreciate that the steady flow of nearly 1,000 Cubans coming to Guyana every week to shop mainly clothing is extremely good for our country’s economy at a time when there is much talk about sluggishness and over-reliance on gold to prop up revenues.

The Cuban shoppers are helping to keep many businesses in Georgetown afloat and therefore if they were to get tired of the harassment by the City Constabulary and stop coming, it would leave Georgetown in pretty bad shape financially.

What the Constabulary should be doing instead, is providing protection to the Cubans and other visitors from the roving criminals in our capital.

Sincerely

Shanta Singh

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