Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo believes that criminals are now acting with impunity because of the ambiguous signals emanating from government.
Concerns are aplenty that while the crime situation is once again spiralling out of control, government has been very laidback in its approach to addressing the matter.
Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo
Giving his take on the issue, Jagdeo said government has not demonstrated any starkness regarding which class of people they would support: the victims or the perpetrators.
The former President opined that the manner in which President David Granger is pardoning prisoners and the entire process of negotiating with prisoners have led to criminal elements in society feeling empowered.
Jagdeo noted that while pardoning prisoners is not entirely a bad action, the fact that government has kept their identities hidden from the public portrays the message that these criminals are being protected.
On this note, Jagdeo alleged that some of the pardoned prisoners were convicted not of nonviolent crimes but of “hardcore ones.”
Comparing the situation with the previous People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) administration, Jagdeo said the people were always clear on the fact that government stood with the people.
Moreover, he noted that when the President tells the security arm of the country to hesitate on shooting criminals but instead, “bring them in alive”, it also gives rise to worry within the Guyana Police Force (GPF).
“What signal do you send to the Police Force when you say to the Police Force, ‘do not shoot at people just like that’, Policemen are worried because if they shoot a criminal in an act, then suddenly they will face the wrath of the government because he (the criminal) might be someone’s friend in the government… That is why criminals are acting with impunity today,” Jagdeo stated.
Moreover on security matters, the Opposition Leader posited that government is floundering in the dark and groping for effective policies to deal with the crime situation.
“We were told before the elections that they had three former heads of the army, a former head of the police force and many military people who are capable to do a better job on crime and keeping our country secure than the PPP because they are security people and they had a plan to deal with it. What is the plan?” Jagdeo demanded to know.
Jagdeo pointed out that in the National Budget, the only measure to enhance security in the country is a project that had commenced under the previous administration.
He went on to chastise the government for interfering with key initiatives that were established under the former government to combat crime.
“They quashed the Community Policing Groups, they are interfering with the operational duties in the Guyana Police Force, they will not deploy the Tactical Service Unit in a practical way across the nation, arms of the government designed to go after criminals are now being used for political vendetta…,” he stated.
In fact, Jagdeo declared that nearly half of the Police Force is now focused on going after political opponents as opposed to criminals.
(Reprinted from today’s Guyana Times)