Letter: Unashamedly, AFC is now proposing measures for public security

AFC Leader Khemraj Ramjattan

Dear Editor,

It is rather disheartening to see the Alliance For Change, the once promising third force that provided hope to the country for bringing about meaningful changes and reforms in our political culture and governance systems, now being relegated to being the ‘press release’ party, churning out a myriad of recommendations and proposals of ideas for improved security; which it had no space to propose, much less implement, under the Coalition Government.

This is the very party that held ministerial responsibility for the security sector in a period stained by explosive allegations of corruption and the imposition of the power of party paramountcy over the country’s security forces. It was under the AFC’s security portfolio that Guyana experienced the most corrupted system for the issuance of firearm licences and citizenship, the prostituting of the Guyana Police Force in unbridled witch-hunting of political opponents of the Coalition; and Gestapo-like control of the electoral machinery of the 2020 regional and general elections, as was seen by all and sundry during the attempted rigging of the Region Four returns at the Ashmin Building.

Wasn’t it the AFC Minister of National Security who hired an international security expert which later turned out to be a most vulgar conflict of interest saga? Now, with little to no credibility remaining, no electoral constituency ahead of the next general elections, and desperate to project some semblance of relevance and viability, what remains of the AFC leadership, many of whom I had placed trust and high hopes in while serving in the party, is now grasping at straws in the very sector where its most glaring failures were recorded.

Unashamedly, the AFC is now proposing several measures it sees as vital for arresting public security, amid what it says is an “escalating crime and narco-trafficking” situation. They now want the current Government to implement the recommendations of the British Security Sector Reform which the coalition left languishing in the dust, and craft a policy that is compatible with democracy, and not a strong-man or iron-fisted state.

Do they believe the Guyanese people have forgotten the concocted assassination plot against Granger, which turned out to be nothing but a ruse to boost security around the president akin to the North Korean dictator, and for which the Crime Chief was sent packing for telling the President that there was no shred of evidence of a plot; the so-called interception and deportation of supposed Russian saboteurs; and the political hijacking of GECOM by the GPF and its puppet masters to secure the elections’ rigging process?

They are calling for stronger community policing, which the coalition abandoned; they want better vetting of police officers, especially senior ranks, many of whom the coalition used to enable the subversion of the constitution and rule of law during the election tabulation and verification process; they now want wider surveillance systems; enhanced road signage; convening of the Parliamentary Committee on Public Security; and most laughably, the depoliticization of law enforcement.

All of these lofty recommendations stand in stark contrast to the recklessness that passed as public security management under Ramjattan — reckless abandonment which enabled glaring security lapses and breaches that led to the burning of the Camp Street Prisons, and a callous and ill-thought-out gamble of issuing hundreds of pardons for criminals instead of serious approaches to reform and rehabilitation. There could be no doubt that it is the AFC and its consuming domineers in the 2015-2020 Coalition Government who must be held responsible and accountable for encouraging and offering support to criminal elements bent on destabilising the country before and during their reign.

Instead of regularly resorting to pontifications on issues of governance, which the AFC and its partners failed so miserably on, the party would do well to caution the few remaining members and senior political figures that they ought to be mindful of the dangers and legal implications of the criminal practice of drinking and driving, and indecent exposure while they fight in futility to avoid political oblivion.

Trevor Williams,
Former Member
of Parliament for the
Alliance for Change