week, an armed policing group from Enmore was confronted by an army
patrol during the night. The civilians were forced to lie flat on
the ground while the army confirmed that they were indeed as they
claimed. All of this seemed normal. What was not normal was the
claim by the Enmore folks that the soldiers cursed them with racial
slurs. The army denied the claims. Who are we to believe? What would
the soldiers gain from speaking racial slurs? What would the village
locals gain from making this claim?
role of the army in crime fighting has always been in questioned
since it came into being this year. While the PNC continues to demand
their removal, many Indians still do not trust the army. It is a
fact that criminals have committed numerous crimes and headed into
Buxton while the army kept patrol just miles away, if not closer.
In a nutshell, the army has not been deterrence to criminal activities.
People have reported seeing soldiers chatting with some of the troublemakers
there is an angered feeling among soldiers for local villagers (Indians).
This is after the Good Hope arms cache found on December 4, 2002.
With many suggesting that the confiscated bullet proof vehicle,
guns, high tech computer, and Indians arrested at Good Hope by an
army patrol, is the mysterious "phantom" group allegedly
responsible for stalking out criminals, the view among soldiers
is that this group probably is responsible for the shooting of soldier
Ryan Thompson, who was caught in a gunfire crossfire-and is now
in a Brazilian hospital recuperating.
This is one of the alleged reasons for an army patrol going all
the way to Good Hope on the East Coast, which is way out of the
Buxton/trouble zone, to make this arrest. The soldiers were angry
that one of theirs was injured. Indians have complained that they
find it strange that the army can find Indians who are fighting
the criminals all the way up at Good Hope, but cannot seem to find
and arrest criminals in Buxton.
There is a concern among soldiers, most of who are Blacks, that
Indians are taking matters in their own hands-acting as mercenaries
or vigilante groups. The fact that a computer was found which could
intercept and locate telephone calls means that even army communication
was threatened. Then there is the race factor-Indian vigilante groups
going after gangs and criminals that are primarily Blacks does not
speak well for Black soldiers-some of whom, who knows, just may
have cousins, friends, or acquaintances in these criminal gangs
Meanwhile, the army patrols continue-almost with no serious effects.
So far, the army only attempted one cordon-and-search operation,
which resulted in no criminal apprehended or weapons found in the
houses searched in Buxton. The President, apparently, is hesitant
to order more searches-especially random ones. It
is unclear whether the President has given orders, and if they have
been refused by the army top brass. If this happened, the PPP cannot
make this public because it puts them in a position of weakness-which
will send a dangerous message to the militants and the PNC.
As we head into 2003, and large-scale destabilization continues,
we will see how effective will the army be. We will also see what
is the relationship between the army and the Indian population on
the East Coast, and how the government will react to this. For now,
let us keep an eye on the army.