A 25 year-old with a degree in agronomy was shot to death earlier today (Tuesday) as he attempted to rob Republic Bank’s Water Street Branch.
What a tragedy that our young people, even those with tertiary qualifications, are resorting to this type of activity. 70% of Guyana’s population is made up of persons 35 years and younger and it is no secret that feelings of hopelessness and despair are increasingly engulfing our youth. We have one of the highest youth suicide rates in the world.
What an indictment of this country and its leaders, past and present.
In May 2015, President Granger and Prime Minister Nagamootoo deliberately misled the young people of Guyana when they campaigned on the promise of jobs for youths. Their campaign poster actually read “Youths – it’s time to vote for jobs”. Only two months after being elected, President Granger made the following statement, “There is no magic wand. The government cannot provide jobs…”
Only true if you follow the failed neo-liberal, capitalist model of economic development. In a country as underdeveloped and broken as Guyana, the government must reject this model, must meaningfully engage in the economy, leading the charge to provide development and jobs.
There is surely something terribly wrong when a country with the potential to be the breadbasket for South America and the Caribbean is not only full of hungry people, but is also now a place where young people with agronomy degrees are robbing banks.
Whatever one thinks about this young man’s action –it is surely one of desperation. And of course, despite the fact that the police and a private security firm were engaged in a fire fight, I doubt that every effort was made to disable and disarm this young man. Instead, as usual, the police shot to kill, becoming not only a law enforcement agency but also judge and jury. Already I have heard comments such as “he got what he deserved”. 25 year-olds make serious errors of judgement. All of us have children who do so all the time. Does this warrant the taking of their lives?
Crime amongst our youth will continue to rise, especially in an environment where they are deprived of opportunity and where they are constantly witnessing double standards, hypocrisy and the outright criminal activity of those at the highest echelons of this society. Their so-called role models – past and present government ministers, senior state functionaries and leading members of the private sector have provided our young people with nothing but countless examples of theft on a grand scale and skullduggery.
What a tragic state of affairs we find ourselves embroiled in.
In the words of Martin Carter: “All are involved, all are consumed”. None of us can escape responsibility for this state of affairs. The sins of a society are the sum total of the sins of all of its people.
Frantz Fanon said it best in The Wretched of the Earth: “The collective struggle presupposes collective responsibility at the base and collegiate responsibility at the top. Yes; everybody will have to be compromised in the fight for the common good. No one has clean hands; there are no innocents and no onlookers. We all have dirty hands; we are all soiling them in the swamps of our country and in the terrifying emptiness of our brains. Every onlooker is either a coward or a traitor.”
Gerald A. Perreira
Organization for the Victory of the People (OVP)