The Crime Debate
Past Editorial

Let me say that while I like the fact that people are finally speaking about crime, they sure took their own sweet time to talk about it. Serious crime was here since late 2000 but people like David Hinds, Frederick Kissoon, and PNC lightweights like Sherwood Lowe, James McAllister, and Vincent Alexander (a heavyweight), really did not write about crime as they are doing these days. Where were these people? Now Stabroek News is picking up steam with editorials-last year, when things like the Albion incident occurred (becasue of intensive crimes on the Berbice coast in places like Fryish, Corentyne, there was an editorial or two, but that was it once that situation subsided. In August of 2001, Ms. Deborah Backer (PNC MP) called for a commission to investigate the Black Clothes police. It was an important call which I agree with. It had nothing to do with crimes outside thise police unit. Full stop.

Mr. Sherwood Lowe wrote the following recently (SN 11/08); "Now that you have exhausted the political angle as a cause of the spate of crimes over the past nine months and have concluded that (i) no PNC/R master plot exists, and (ii) political explanations are woefully inadequate, you may now wish to begin to explore the role of organised crime and the narco-trade in the current criminal mayhem."

I have a few problems with this. First, people should not be too anxious to accept this supposed non-nexus relation between the PNC and Black militants. Let us give jack his jacket.
Maybe it is not party policy or part of the party is against it (certainly in principle), but the PNC party, right now a fractured party with divisions, cannot be excused so easily. The claim is always; "Show us evidence." An absence of evidence does not mean automatically that that is evidence of its absence.

Second, why this sudden interest in narco-trafficking? Is it because many Blacks including 2 of the "escapees" died recently, unquestionably at the hands of "associates" of businessman, Mr. Bramanand Nandalall, whom they kidnapped? Could it be that Black intellectuals involved in the militant program find narco-trafficking because local "drug lords" happen to be Indian? Why no mention about an editorial about the race factor in crimes (outside the Black power network)? For example, what made the Black criminal shave off Ms. Anita Singh's hair with a knife after the robbery was over?

Mr. Lowe is not concerned with this apparently. In fact, one has to feel this way when one reads what UG professor, Frederick Kissoon wrote recently concerning Mr. Desmond Hoyte's request that Buxton get $250M; "Even though they [Lowe and James McAllister] see a need for the injection of massive capital to bring about social amelioration in Buxton, they want that without the moral obligation on their part to recognize the malignant violence and call for time out" (SN 11/07). Moral obligation seems to be run along race lines.

In June 2001, in a letter published in Guyana's 2 main papers, I wrote, "But crime is NOT a problem in Guyana. If it were, Blacks and Indians would leave their political hats under the bed and fight against it. Many of us say that poverty or getting jobs is the real problem. Fix these and you fix crime. But we've been fixing poverty and bringing jobs to town since the 80s. Some of us, in our close quarters, say that it's not affecting 'our' community, so why be concerned. We have 'our' concerns to think about. Others say plainly that crime is a job for the Police and government."

The month before that, shortly after the triple-headed executions (Barrans, Jagdeo) in Friendship, I wrote a letter about security issue being Guyana's primary problem; that "right now, all else is trivial. Nothing else can or should be more important." But no one picked up on that vibe then. The PPP did what it had to do to disguise the crime scene (The Barrans' funeral was entirely hijacked by the PPP so that ROAR reps could not organize any formal protect.)

Outside, the political analysts were busy writing about things that concerned them. I wonder if, let's assume that the heart of this heavy crime crisis is reduced drastically but not adequately in, say, 6 months time (not that it would), would these folks return back to their various agendas like "power sharing" and "marginalisation"? I think so.

In any event, while we must be happy that people are really talking, they cannot be too happy because the people with the real power in Guyana to make decisive decisions to crack down on crime continue to pussyfoot the issue; the president has a problem giving orders to the army, and until Mr. Hoyte makes a precise statement on the crime issue, to let us know where he stands, letters from PNC small potatoes likes Mr. Lowe amounts to very little.

For a better take on this crime situation please look for The Crime Debate to be posted soon on our site.


Nov 12, 2002
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